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What does Germany’s Skilled Labor Immigration Act have to offer?

Posted on December 27, 2019
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Germany's Skilled Labor Immigration Act

Germany is facing a shortage of skilled workers in various occupations.  Experts warn it may face a skills shortage of 3 million workers by 2030. The reasons for this are the increase in the number of aged citizens and the decreasing birth rate.

Though the skills shortage is not very apparent at present, certain regions and sectors are already finding it difficult to fill certain positions. There is a shortage of skills in STEM and health related occupations.

By current estimates, there are 1.2 million jobs for skilled workers that are vacant. To solve this problem, the German coalition government passed the Skilled Labor Immigration Act in June this year. The Act will come into effect from March 2020.

The act is intended to give access to the German labor market to skilled workers or specialists from non-EU countries.

Skilled workers or specialists are those with a university degree that is recognized in Germany or have professional training that is recognized in Germany.

The Federal government estimates that the new act will help to bring 25,000 skilled workers to Germany every year.

What benefits does the act offer to non-EU skilled workers?

The act allows non-EU skilled workers to look for a job and subsequently work in Germany, especially in any of the occupations that is facing a skills shortage.

With this act, skilled labor from non-EU countries who have adequate experience and suitable qualifications and education will face minimum restrictions when they embark on a job search in Germany.

The act allows any non-EU citizen to work in Germany provided they have the required vocational training or relevant degree and an employment contract from a German employer.

Skilled workers will find it easy to get the German jobseeker visa that allows them to stay in Germany for six months and look for a job. They need not have an employment contract but if they have qualified professional training, they will qualify for a jobseeker visa.

During these six months they can either work up to ten hours in a week or do an internship provided they have a B2 level in German.

With the act, those who have been rejected an asylum in Germany earlier have better chances of getting a residency permit by getting a permanent job.

Skilled workers selected under this new law will get an employment offer which will be valid for four months. They can apply for a permanent residence permit after four years provided, they have contributed to the German pension fund for at least 48 months, have the financial means to support themselves and the stipulated knowledge of German language.

What are the benefits to German employers?

With this act German companies in almost every sector will be allowed to recruit foreign workers whereas earlier only specific sectors could recruit foreign workers.

Earlier employers who wanted to hire a foreign worker were subjected to an inspection from the Federal Employment Agency to find out if they had made attempts to find a suitable worker from Germany or another EU country before considering non-Eu applicants. This prerequisite has been removed in the new act.

The new act does not restrict the immigration of skilled workers from non-EU countries to only those occupations where there is a skill shortage.

Action plan of the government

To solve the skills shortage crisis, the German government is targeting selected countries to attract skilled workers. The Federal Employment Agency is thinking of entering into agreements on simplified labor migration to Germany with specific countries like what they currently have with Philippines and Mexico.

The government is looking for workers from countries such as Brazil and India.

Under the new rules, the government plans to speed up the visa process for skilled foreign workers with German language skills.

The government also plans to provide German language training for skilled workers in their countries of origin.

At the same time, it is not ruling out the possibility of using the potential of domestic workers and training them for skilled positions in the future.

Experts warn that Germany could face a serious shortage of skilled workers in the future, the government on its part is making efforts to ease the immigration of skilled workers into the country.

The Skilled Labor Migration Act is a step in the right direction towards this objective.

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