Germany Redoubles Efforts to Attract Qualified Foreign Workers

German governmental and business leaders launch major push to expand skilled labor force

December 2019

State and private sector representatives in Germany – including Chancellor Angela Merkel, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil – came together for a top-level summit in December, to accelerate efforts to attract qualified workers to the country.

The event preceded sweeping legislative changes coming into force on 1 March 2020 that will make it much easier for people with valuable skills to find employment in Germany. The new laws will allow anyone with an employment contract and recognized qualifications to work in Germany. The legislation suspends previous requirements that employers prove that no suitable candidates from the EU were available.

Additionally, foreign jobseekers will be allowed to reside for six months in Germany while looking for work, if they can support themselves without recourse to social benefits.

The summit pledged to speed up immigration procedures and reduce red tape. It established the website “Make It in Germany” as a central first point of call for foreign employees and jobseekers. German businesses and government agencies will also step up efforts to recruit foreign talents and integrate them into German society.

“The Skilled Immigration Act establishes a new legal framework for Germany to ensure a fundamental level of specialists,” says Christina Schön, senior manager of investor services at Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). “This will also benefit foreign firms with subsidiaries in Germany that want to employ qualified people from parent companies. The accelerated residence-permit procedures and the new opportunities created for experts with vocational qualifications are only two of the positive changes coming in March.”

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