OECD International Migration Outlook 2023

In most OECD European countries and in the United States, labour migration in 2022 was at a 15 year record level. Year-on-year increases in the primary destination countries were striking: the number of new permanent-type labour migrants increased by 59% in Germany.

The top destination for flows under free mobility agreements within Europe remained Germany, which received 29% of all internal movements (321 000, +3% compared to 2021).

To step up efforts to actively recruit immigrant workers, Germany signed bilateral agreements and advance migration and mobility partnerships with selected origin countries. Germany has recently concluded agreements on migration and mobility with India. This is the first time Germany has signed such a bilateral agreement, and the agreement is intended to serve as a model for potential future similar agreements with other countries.

Other measures to attract foreign talent include Germany’s placement agreements with Jordan and Brazil for care workers, and the extension of an earlier placement agreement with Mexico to include hotel and restaurant workers. Workers recruited under these agreements can initiate the procedure for the recognition of their qualifications at the same time as they take up employment in Germany.

To address important labour shortages in the medical sector, Germany passed a draft of the Nursing Studies Strengthening Act, which includes a simplification and standardisation of the recognition of foreign nursing qualifications and training. More specifically, the government plans to regulate the list of required documents for the recognition process and propose alternatives to equivalence tests, such as adaptation courses or knowledge-based assessments.

Furthermore, the new Skilled Immigration Act creates new pathways for the immigration of skilled workers from third countries. The new Skilled Immigration Act also expands possibilities of entering Germany for the purpose of recognition of foreign professional qualifications. Importantly, it is still the case that anybody wishing to practise a regulated profession in Germany must have recognition. In other professions, recognition is helpful. This is because it offers lots of advantages as regards long-term professional integration and a future in Germany.

Increasing awareness and transparency regarding recognition procedures and making sure immigrants are accompanied in the process is also crucial to ensure efficiency. Information about how to obtain recognition is often not accessible to migrants. To foster transparency, Germany established in 2020 a Service Centre for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) which support applicants abroad in the recognition procedure.

The BQ-Portal, information portal for foreign professional qualifications, provides information on 103 foreign vocation training and education systems and over 5,530 foreign vocation training programs. Thereby the BQ-Portal fosters transparency of foreign professional qualifications and contributes to securing skilled labour in Germany.

OECD International Migration Outlook 2023