The Head of the Federal Employment Agency, Detlef Scheele, said that Germany needs 400,000 new workers per year to fill the labour market, which can be possible by admitting more immigrants to the country, meaning that Germany’s economy is currently dependent on immigration.
According to Scheele’s interview for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany needs more skilled workers since it is running out of them. He further explained that the number of workers of typical professional age would drop by almost 150,000 this year, predicting that the situation will worsen in the next few years.
He finds Germany’s ageing population responsible for the situation, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We need 400,000 immigrants a year. In other words, significantly more than in previous years. From care and air conditioning to logisticians and academics – there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere,” Scheele said for SZ.
He further said that Germany needs to do its part regarding Afghanistan’s crisis and shelter refugees. However, he noted that he isn’t interested in the asylum but in targeted migration which could fill out the market gaps so Germany can keep its prosperous economy.
“Germany can only solve the problem by qualifying unskilled workers and people whose jobs have been lost due to technical change– and above all by bringing immigrants into the country,” Scheele said.
He also urged to let female part-time workers work longer, referring to involuntary work, which includes workers who want to work longer but cannot find such positions.
On the other hand, Rene Springer, a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) political group, criticised Scheele and accused him of being a “mouthpiece for companies that want to push down wages further.”
Konstantin Kuhle, a member of parliament from the Free Democrats (FDP) party, agreed with Scheele and pointed out that without immigration, Germany’s growth and prosperity are at risk.
The Federal Statistical Office data reveals that net immigration to Germany in 2020 was 209,000, recording the first time Germany’s population has stagnated in almost ten years. This phenomenon is likely to be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic travel bans.
In order to deal with the problem of its ageing population and the lack of skilled workers to fill in essential positions, Germany had introduced the German Skilled Immigration Act in March 2020 in a bid to facilitate the visa issuance procedures for those wanting to work in Germany.
According to this Act, workers need to have their foreign qualifications recognised by the German authorities or have ensured a job or contract in Germany in their field of professionalism.
In the first year of the Act, the Western Balkan countries were the ones to benefit the most from the German skilled immigration program in 2020, with 30,200 visas being granted to workers worldwide, out of which 2,024 to Serb workers, 1,159 to Bosnians, 792 to Kosovans, and 778 to Albanians.
Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), had, however, been disappointed with the numbers, pointing fingers at the travel restrictions imposed amid COVID-19 as the real cause behind the low number of third-country nationals who benefited from the Act.
>> Germany Has Issued Over 50,000 Visas Through the Skilled Workers Immigration Act So Far