Germany introduces new legislation to attract skilled workers

From 1 July onwards, skilled workers from non-EU countries will find it easier to relocate to Germany. On that date, the new Employment Act will come into effect, which is aimed at counteracting the current shortage of skilled workers and enhancing Germany’s position in the worldwide competition for qualified professionals. Not an easy task, as other large Western economies and newly industrialised countries are also adapting their immigration policies.

In August 2012, the German government had already introduced the “Blue Card” aimed at recruiting university graduates from abroad. With the new Employment Act, it is now extending its focus to include skilled professionals who have completed vocational training. A whitelist specifies who will be allowed to take up employment in Germany. It lists all qualifications for which there is currently a shortage of qualified staff, e.g. in the care and STEM sectors. In order to come to Germany, skilled professionals from third countries have to document that their qualification is comparable to a German qualification in the same field. The equivalence is assessed by German authorities such as chambers of trade, industry and commerce. To help them with this complex task, they can turn to the BQ portal for comprehensive information on foreign vocational systems and professional profiles.
The new legislation marks an additional step towards counteracting the current shortage of skilled workers in Germany. In addition, it will enhance Germany’s attractiveness in the global competition with other traditional and emerging destinations for qualified immigrants. However, many other countries are also reforming their immigration policies in order to become more attractive. The US, for example, is currently preparing a new law which will lead to an increase in visas and green cards for STEM professionals. Brazil, a newly industrialised nation, also wants to introduce reforms to attract professionals in the STEM fields. Even Japan, which is not a traditional destination for immigrants, now wants to simplify immigration procedures to counteract its shortage in qualified medical professionals and engineers.
As a result, Germany needs to continue its efforts to facilitate immigration for qualified staff even beyond the reworked Employment Act. Only then can it remain an attractive destination for foreign professionals.
IW contact:
Tarrin Khairi-Taraki
Telephone: +49 (0)221 / 4981-847