Draft law in the cabinet: Fewer hurdles for foreign skilled workers

Status: 03/29/2023 2:15 p.m

The cabinet has approved simplified rules for the immigration of skilled workers. A “chance card” based on a points system is also to be introduced. Criteria include professional experience and language skills.

In view of the shortage of workers, the federal government wants to attract more skilled workers from abroad with simpler rules and new offers. The federal cabinet introduced a bill by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), which also allows immigration based on a points system.

The hurdles for academics will be lowered and the job opportunities for skilled workers with and without professional qualifications recognized in Germany will be expanded. In the future, foreigners from non-EU countries will also be able to come to Germany with a “chance card” based on a points system to look for work. The criteria that are taken into account when calculating the number of points include language skills, professional experience, age and a connection to Germany. The “chance card” also offers opportunities for trial work or part-time employment.

Foreign specialists with professional qualifications and experience can come in the future without having to have their qualifications recognized by Germany beforehand. They can make up for that. Recognized specialists should be able to do any qualified job and change industries. The requirements for a residence permit for the purpose of looking for a training place are also significantly reduced.

Heil: Greater use of potential in Germany

The draft is a reform of the Skilled Immigration Act, which has been in effect for three years. Interior Minister Faeser explained that “we want skilled workers to be able to come to Germany quickly and get started”. To do this, bureaucratic hurdles should be removed. People with professional experience or personal potential were given the chance to gain a foothold in the labor market.

Federal Minister of Labor Heil said that the potential in Germany should also be used more. More women and older workers should be given the opportunity to work. At the same time, workers from abroad are needed. The aim of the law is to attract around 125,000 workers from third countries every year. Faeser and Heil confirmed that a good culture of welcome is also necessary.

According to expert opinion, an annual immigration of 400,000 workers is necessary to maintain the current level of prosperity. Heil explained that before the Corona crisis, around 315,000 workers immigrated each year.

Economy insists on improvements

In the run-up, representatives from the economy had also called for improvements to the law. “We will not be successful if we leave the mediation solely to the Federal Employment Agency,” said Karl Haeusgen, President of the Association of German Mechanical and Plant Engineering (VDMA), the news portal “The Pioneer”. “We demand that temporary work can also recruit specialists from third countries.”

The trades insisted in particular on a radical simplification of administrative procedures. The president of the central association ZDH, Jörg Dittrich, told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “The best law is useless without good enforcement. In order for the reform of labor migration decided by the federal government to take effect in practice, immigration law must be made less bureaucratic and the administrative procedures (must ) can be significantly accelerated.”

Nationality law still in coordination

There is still a need for coordination with the FDP on the planned reform of nationality law, which Federal Interior Minister Faeser would have liked to bring into the cabinet together with the draft law on the immigration of skilled workers.

The Liberals are not against allowing dual citizenship in principle for non-EU citizens as well. They also approve of reducing the minimum period of residence, usually from eight years to five years. With the other requirements for naturalization – language and securing one’s own livelihood – the Liberals do not want to make any compromises and allow fewer exceptions.

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