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Global Economy

Coalition wants to facilitate the influx of skilled workers

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil have outlined the cornerstones of a new immigration law to curb the shortage of skilled workers. "We are doing away with a migration policy shaped by the CDU and CSU, which denied the reality of our immigration country and thus damaged our business location," they write in a joint guest article for the "Handelsblatt". The immigration system is "too sluggish, too bureaucratic, too dismissive".

Recognition procedures parallel to work

In their contribution, the two SPD politicians announce that the job market will also be open to skilled workers who have an employment contract but do not yet have a degree recognized in this country. They could then catch up with the help of the German employer, the ministers propose. Unlike before, proof of a degree and professional experience should suffice for entry. The recognition procedure can then be carried out after entry and parallel to work.

According to the report, the projects of Faeser and Heil go even further. Experienced professionals should be allowed to enter Germany to look for a job under two conditions, even without an employment contract: They still have to have confirmation from abroad that their qualifications are at least partially comparable to German ones and they also have to prove that they are able to support themselves to secure.

Minimum limit for "Blue Card" should decrease

This should be a step towards an "opportunity card" that the SPD, Greens and FDP want to introduce in this legislative period. The traffic light coalition also wants to facilitate the immigration of skilled workers with already recognized qualifications. In the future, this should also make it possible to work in a non-specialist profession, as long as there is a professional qualification recognized in Germany.

In addition, in future young university graduates should no longer be expected to earn as much as experienced professionals in order to be able to enter the country with a so-called Blue Card. "We lower the salary limits for them. This also enables us to make it easier for well-trained young people to start a career in Germany," explained Faeser and Heil. There is currently a minimum salary limit of EUR 56,400 gross per year.

Business approval

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) welcomed the plans: "Without sufficient immigration from abroad, we will not be able to solve the problem of skilled workers," emphasized the DIHK when presenting a list of proposals for reforming the FEG.

The federal government is planning to amend the Skilled Immigration Act (FEG), which has been in force since March 1, 2020. The aim is to facilitate the influx of qualified specialists from third countries, also in accordance with the needs of the economy. "A bottleneck, but one of the main problems of the law is its implementation," complains the deputy director of the DIHK, Achim Dercks. The practical work in the authorities and the complexity of the regulations overwhelm companies, potential immigrants and often apparently also the authorities themselves. In addition, there are sometimes very long waiting times for visa appointments.

Demand for expansion of the immigration authorities

According to the FEG, the federal states should set up at least one central foreigners authority – among other things for the accelerated specialist procedure. "These have not been set up in all countries and experience has shown that in some immigration authorities the current legal situation is not sufficiently known or not implemented," criticizes the DIHK.

The result is sometimes long waiting times for the award, but especially for the extension of residence permits, which makes it difficult for companies to plan with certainty. The expansion of the central immigration authorities would be desirable from the point of view of the DIHK.

According to the current DIHK economic survey, 56 percent of companies see a business risk in the shortage of skilled workers. In this context, the immigration of foreign skilled workers is becoming more and more important.

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