German lawmakers approve plan to attract skilled workers to bridge labor gap  in the country - Business News

German Lawmakers Approve Plan to Attract Skilled Workers and Bridge Labor Gap

In a significant move to combat labor shortages and bolster its economy, the German parliament has given its approval to a comprehensive plan aimed at attracting skilled workers to the country. Germany, known for being Europe’s largest economy, has recognized the pressing need to address labor gaps across various professions. With a growing number of industries experiencing shortages, this plan seeks to bring in talented individuals from around the world to fill these gaps and contribute to Germany’s continued growth.

The legislation received overwhelming support, with 388 lawmakers voting in favor and 31 abstentions. The approved plan includes the introduction of a “points system” that will consider factors such as professional experience, similar to existing systems implemented in countries like Canada. Notably, the new rules will streamline entry requirements for information technology specialists who possess relevant qualifications, even if they lack university degrees.

Additionally, the plan addresses the situation of asylum seekers who arrived before March 29 and possess both qualifications and a job offer. These individuals will have the opportunity to obtain a residence permit as professionals by withdrawing their asylum applications. This provision eliminates the need for them to leave the country and reapply for a separate work permit. Moreover, highly skilled workers will now have the ability to bring more relatives to Germany, as long as they can provide financial support for their dependents.

Germany has been grappling with the challenge of attracting skilled workers from outside the European Union for several years. Experts estimate that the country requires approximately 400,000 skilled immigrants annually to compensate for its aging workforce, which is gradually shrinking.

According to the national labor agency, a recent analysis revealed that out of approximately 1,200 professions surveyed, 200 experienced labor shortages in the past year. This figure marks an increase from the previous year’s count of 148. Among the professions facing shortages are bus drivers, hotel and restaurant service jobs, metalwork, nursing care, child care, construction, automotive technology, truck driving, architecture, pharmacy, and information technology.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser emphasized the significance of addressing the shortage of skilled labor, which is widely regarded as a major impediment to Germany’s economic growth. She described the approved legislation as “a huge step for the future of our country.”

However, not all lawmakers were in agreement. Andrea Lindholz, a senior lawmaker from the main conservative opposition bloc, criticized the plan, arguing that it would primarily attract low-skilled individuals and relax German language requirements. She raised concerns about the potential for creating incentives for illegal immigration into Germany.

Nevertheless, the approval of this plan signifies Germany’s commitment to mitigating labor shortages and fostering economic progress. By opening its doors to skilled professionals from around the world, Germany aims to bridge the gap and secure a prosperous future for its industries and workforce.