Cabinet adopts new legislation on skilled worker immigration

More skilled workers for Germany

The German government has decided to lower the barriers and allow more skilled workers to come to Germany. The Act on Skilled Worker Immigration will make it easier for skilled workers from non-EU states to come to Germany in future. This is one building brick in efforts to alleviate Germany’s shortfall of skilled workers.

Two helicopter mechanics work with a laptop.

The new law regulates clearly and transparently who is entitled to come to Germany for training and work and who isn't

Photo: mauritius images

Ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers is one of the key tasks of the government during this legislative period. If Germany’s economy is to remain strong, there must be a secure and extended supply of skilled workers in line with the needs of industry.

The focus is firstly on the potential available on the German and European markets. Against the background of demographic change, the Federal Republic of Germany also needs skilled workers from third states though. Here, the German government is pursuing a holistic approach. The new legislation is only part of a strategy on skilled workers that was also adopted on Wednesday.

Needs-driven immigration of skilled workers

With the new legislation, the German government is putting in place a framework for forward-looking, needs-driven immigration of skilled workers from non-EU states. The coalition is thus realising a key project in the field of migration policy.

The legislation regulates clearly and transparently who is entitled to come to Germany for training or work, and who is not.

The major changes include the following:

  • The one term ‘skilled worker’ is used for both university graduates and employees with full vocational qualifications.
  • Where an applicant has the requisite qualification and an employment contract, it will no longer be reviewed whether it would not have been possible to find a suitable German or EU candidate for the post.
  • Candidates with full vocational qualifications will not only be accepted for occupations already suffering a shortfall of skilled workers.
  • Skilled workers with full vocational qualifications will be able to come to Germany for a limited period to seek employment, as is already the case for university graduates (provided their German skills are of the required standard and they are able to finance their living costs).
  • It is to be easier to stay in Germany to undertake upgrading with a view to having vocational and professional qualifications recognised.
  • Simplified procedures, pooling of responsibilities and placing them in the hands of central aliens authorities and accelerated procedures for skilled workers round off the innovations.

Parallel measures

To specifically raise the level of immigration of qualified skilled workers from non-EU states, the German government is taking additional and parallel steps to improve administrative procedures. They include visa procedures, targeted advertising measures to be conducted jointly with the private sector, accelerating the recognition of foreign qualifications, and more efforts to promote the German language, especially abroad.

Immigration to work

"We do not want to see immigration to make use of our welfare system. We want to see immigration to work. That is our goal. In this way we can also go some way to pushing back illegal migration," explained Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at a joint press conference with Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier in Berlin. That is why the distinction between asylum-seeking and labour-related migration is to be retained.


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