German Law on Skilled Immigration Takes Effect: What Does It Bring?

Germany urgently needs a professional workforce. Politicians, companies and experts agree that gaps in the labor market must be filled with the help of foreign workers. On Saturday, the new Law on Qualified Immigration will gradually enter into force, dpa writes.
It is a “modern, state-of-the-art law on migration that makes us a leader in global competition,” according to Rem Alabali-Radovan (Reem), federal commissioner for migration, refugees and integration.

It is a “modern, state-of-the-art law on migration that makes us a leader in global competition,” according to Rem Alabali-Radovan (Reem), federal commissioner for migration, refugees and integration.

The law was delayed, and the bold reforms were neglected for too long, Alabali Radovanova told dpa, adding that the new law will enter into force in “five to 12”.

In fact, since March 2020, Germany already had a Law on Skilled Immigration, which the then government of Angela Merkel wanted to facilitate the access of skilled workers from countries outside the European Union to the German labor market. Now that law has been reformed because in many places there is still a shortage of personnel, especially qualified workers.

The law in its previous version did not achieve the expected results due to the pandemic, said Pau Palop Garcia from the German Center for Research on Integration and Migration (DeZIM). In addition, he added, the bureaucratic obstacles for foreigners who want to work in Germany are still high.

A novelty in the new law is the introduction of the so-called Chance Card based on a points system. The criteria for selecting immigrants who want to work and choose this option are language skills, work experience, age and connection to Germany.

In the future, foreign professional workers must earn at least 43,800 euros gross per year, and until now it was 58,400.

The advantage of the new law for highly qualified experts from countries outside the EU is that in the future they can bring with them not only their spouse and children, but also their parents and in-laws. The prerequisite, however, is that they have secured means of living – in Germany they cannot live on social assistance.

German companies are currently unable to fill about 1.73 million jobs and they remain open, according to data from the Institute for Labor Market Research and Professions (IAB). The figure is based on the institute’s quarterly survey. Only 748,665 vacancies were reported to the Federal Labor Agency (AB) in October.

Currently, an average of 153 days pass, according to the agency, until the position is filled. This shows the difficulty of many sectors to find skilled workers despite the growth of unemployment and underemployment.

The nursing and craft sectors are desperate for workers.

However, the German Professional Association of Caregivers (DBfK) does not see a solution to the problem in the new law.

“Firstly, because the lack of nursing professionals is a problem worldwide, and secondly, the general conditions for caregivers in Germany are not attractive,” said DBfK director Bernadette Klapper.

And “the best law is worthless if there is too much bureaucracy and if implementation gets stuck”, said the president of the Central Association of German Crafts (ZDH), Jörg Dittrich.

The law is going in the right direction, but in sectors where there is a large shortage of workers, “there are usually structural problems such as poor pay and poor working conditions,” said Anja Piel from the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). Now it is important, she added, to make better use of the existing potential.

“The law on skilled immigration is an important welcome message,” announced the Federal Association of German Employers’ Associations (BDA). However, regulation can only be the first step. The officials dealing with migration are already completely overburdened, according to the statement. “The workforce that already has an employment contract and could start work tomorrow has been waiting for months.”

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) offers advice for people abroad who are interested in working in Germany. According to the BAMF, there were 71,409 skilled immigration consultations last year, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2021.

Germany – despite the difficult language – is very popular among skilled workers abroad, said Sekou Keita (Sekou) from the IAB. In polls, Germany often finishes in third place, behind Canada and the USA.

“Germany relies heavily on the image of a strong economy with good professional opportunities,” said Keita.

Source: dpa

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