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Germany's new immigration laws open door for skilled labor

Non-EU skilled citizens will have it easier now to move and get a job in Germany. In a bid to attract more skilled workers, the coalition government has come up with an agreement on the immigration issue.  The deal, among others, makes it easier for non-EU skilled workers search for a job and work in Germany, in particular if they work in any of the occupations where there is a job shortage.

The German Deutsche Welle newspaper reports that Angela Merkel’s government worked until late Monday night, to reach a deal on the immigration issue. The talks between the grand coalition were focused in two key points:

  • How to fill the skilled labor gap in Germany through targeted immigration from non-EU countries
  • The prospects of remaining in Germany for asylum seekers that were rejected, but have in the meantime found work and integrated into society?

According to the new immigration law, skilled labor from abroad with the adequate training and education will face fewer restrictions when they attempt to get a job in Germany.

Any non-EU citizen will now be permitted to work in Germany if they have the qualified vocational training or degree course and an employment contract.

Meaning, German companies in every sector are now able to recruit foreign skilled workers, unlike previously when they were allowed to recruit only workers in specific sectors.

In addition, job seekers will have in disposition a period of six months to find a job in Germany. Still, having the vocational training remains a requirement.

The law will also offer the opportunity to get a better residency permit, to rejected asylum seekers who remain in the country, by securing a permanent job.

Reactions to Germany’s new deal on migration

The German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said during a press conference in Berlin that coalition partners have agreed on a legislation that would set clear rules.

“On one hand, it would satisfy the needs of the German businesses for employing skilled workers from third countries. On the other hand, it would also enable a controlled, orderly immigration,” he said, expressing his belief that the legislation would significantly reduce illegal migration.

The chief executive of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations, Steffen Kampeter, also assessed the agreement as important for maintaining Germany’s economic competitiveness.

“To do so, we are dependent on qualified workers from abroad,” he said.

However, there were voices from the opposition in the German parliament saying that the agreement just created “more bureaucracy and opaque regulations” for migrants, instead of easing and simplification, among which the Green party migration expert Filiz Polat. / DW