Germany lays the foundations for liberal immigration reform

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By Holger Hansen

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s ruling coalition has laid the cornerstones to change the immigration system to make the country more attractive to skilled workers and fill hundreds of thousands of job vacancies in the job market. work, a government source told Reuters on Friday.

The reforms include the introduction of a so-called “opportunity card” which will allow people to seek employment in Germany on the basis of a points system, with language skills, work experience and a connection to Germany among the criteria, the source said.

German interior and labor ministers want to turn Europe’s biggest economy into an immigration destination, as the need for skilled labor rises with an aging population that poses a ticking time bomb demographic for the German public pension system and a risk for economic growth.

“Germany needs qualified specialists to remain economically prosperous,” Labor Minister Hubertus Heil said on Friday.

A study by the Department of Labor projects that the gap between demand and supply of skilled workers will reach about 240,000 people by 2026.

Cabinet will decide on these cornerstones by mid-November and a draft law is expected in the first quarter of next year, the source said.

Among the reforms being considered are easing the process for recognizing foreigners’ qualifications, obtaining longer-term residencies following employment, and removing barriers to long-term recruitment of top academics.

For example, people who came to Germany for a language course could work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and the minimum wages for obtaining the EU Blue Card as a work permit should be lowered for graduates. academics or those with professional qualifications.

A priority check for foreigners entering Germany to start an apprenticeship will be abolished, which means that it will not be necessary to obtain certification from the Federal Labor Agency that no German applicant is displaced by a stranger for the place.

Qualified non-EU nationals should be able to travel to Germany even without prior formal recognition of their professional qualifications.

Berlin is even considering “contingent and limited entry regardless of qualifications” in the event of an acute shortage of labor in certain sectors.

Abroad, Germany will expand its offer of language courses and exams, while seeking to make them more affordable. It also plans to expand vocational training program offerings with integrated German language training, especially in the nursing sector.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Holger Hansen; editing by Grant McCool)

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