Owing to an acute labour shortage, Germany has come up with a swath of measures meant to modernize the country’s immigration law. The government has also proposed to introduce a Canadian-style points system to invite workers who speak German or have relevant skills.
Pointing out that sectors like technology and the skilled trades, catering, logistics, education and nursing are currently struggling, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil asserted, “For many companies, the search for skilled workers is already an existential issue.”
As per the government, the country would need seven million skilled workers by 2035, while experts cite that there is a need for welcoming an extra 400,000 skilled immigrants a year.
Here’s what the new rules will look like:
Opportunity card based on point system: The government plans to introduce an “opportunity card”, based on a points system that will consider factors like qualifications, age, language skills and work experience.
Holger Bonin, research director at the Institute of Labor Economics, who is critical of the plans told DW, “Before someone can sign an employment contract, they have to present evidence that they don’t have to show in other countries.”
Recognition for foreign education: The process for recognising foreign qualifications would be simplified. For instance, candidates can now submit documents in English or other languages, rather than requiring a certified translation.
Moreover, some professionals can apply for immigration without German recognition of their degree. The prerequisite would be at least two years of work experience and a degree that is recognized in the country of origin.
Vocational language classes for asylum seekers: The government also plans to provide integrational courses and vocational language classes for all asylum seekers, irrespective of the strength of their prospects of remaining within the country on a permanent basis
Changes to the EU-wide blue card: The EU-wide Blue Card for highly qualified specialists was introduced in Germany 10 years ago. Now, the country proposes to extend it to non-academic professions, including everything from cooks and construction experts to energy technicians and truck drivers to address the labour shortage.
New rules introduced for students and interns: Germany also wants more people to come from abroad to study or train for a profession, and then work here with the skills they learn. Hence, it is likely to do away with the “priority check” for apprenticeships and also work while studying.
Foreign students with sufficient German language skills will be allowed to do internships of up to six weeks without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.