Berlin will ease the immigration conditions for qualified workers, with the aim of solving the shortage of qualified workers. However, unskilled workers will face more obstacles.
Germany wants more immigrants, as long as they are skilled workers. The German government is undertaking to lift certain restrictions on foreign graduates in sectors that need them. At the same time, Berlin wants to slow down the migration of unskilled labor from Eastern Europe.
Last Monday, government spokesman Thomas Steg announced to the press that no decision had yet been taken on the reform of German immigration policy but confirmed that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet would deal with the problem in during the month of July.
Last week, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaüble and Labor Minister Olaf Scholz presented an action plan aimed at easing immigration conditions for their counterparts in the majority right-wing governing coalition.
Under this plan, graduates and skilled workers will be granted unlimited residency status after two years of working in their industry in Germany. In addition, the income conditions of these people will be reduced. Indeed, the previous quota set an income of 86,400 euros (135,848 dollars) for foreigners so that they could benefit from a residence card. This limit will be lowered to 63,600 euros.
These measures are in line with the needs of industry, which is struggling to find qualified workers. As the world’s leading exporter of manufactured goods, particularly complex machinery and equipment, Germany has a huge need for engineers and skilled workers.
Analysts and business leaders have long complained about the aging population, the inadequate education system, the excessive barriers to immigration which have contributed to creating problems in recruiting personnel with the required skills.
While Berlin tries to woo skilled labor to fill these gaps, it does not completely abolish its borders. Unlike the United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany has chosen not to accept migrants from the new Eastern European states of the European Union. The government now wants to extend the bans to these immigrant workers by 2011.