03 Oct 2018
Germany to ease immigration rules to tackle worker shortage
In a deal hammered out after marathon talks deep into the night, Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right CDU, its Bavarian allies CSU and the center-left SPD agreed on a new strategy to combat fast-growing Germany's worker shortage.
Jobseekers from non-EU will also get opportunities
Migrants without residency permits, who are awaiting decisions on their asylum applications, may get to stay if they are gainfully employed and can show they have joined the fabric of German society.
Jobseekers from outside the EU, including, for example, cooks, metallurgy workers or IT technicians, can also come to Germany for six months to try and find employment, provided they speak German.
Why does Germany need manpower?
Manpower from the bloc of around 500 mn people would not suffice to keep the German economy ticking, the coalition noted. "That's why we need workers from third countries," Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said about the strategy that is yet to become a law.
Immigration has become a controversial issue in recent years
The ministers, however, were at pains to stress the continued "separation of asylum and employment migration", mindful that Germany has been deeply polarized by the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015.
Immigration has become a hot potato issue in recent years over the record influx of mostly Muslim migrants, many fleeing war in Iraq or Syria.
New rules aimed at providing 'pragmatic solution' for migrants
Railing against the newcomers, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has become Germany's biggest opposition party with over 90 seats in Bundestag.
The ministers stressed that the new immigration rules are not designed to allow failed asylum applicants win residency in Germany by switching over to become employment migrants.
Rather the new rules are aimed at providing a 'pragmatic solution' for migrants.
List to be prepared to avoid 'sending wrong people back'
A list of criteria would be drawn up for migrants who, for instance, have been in Germany for a protracted period because they cannot be deported if they face risk of torture in their country of origin, said ministers.
It's a 'pragmatic solution that reflects reality,' said Employment Minister Hubertus Heil, adding that it would avoid cases of Germany 'sending the wrong people back'.
Record 338,200 jobs went unfilled in September in computing, tech
With unemployment at a record low since reunification, companies in Europe's biggest economy (Germany) have been complaining that a chronic shortage of workers is threatening growth.
In the areas of mathematics, computing, natural sciences, and technology, a record 338,200 jobs went unfilled in September this year.
This information was reported by business weekly Handelsblatt yesterday, quoting data from the Cologne-based German Economic Institute.