Germany, known for its robust economy, is facing a significant challenge – a shortage of skilled and low-qualified workers across various sectors. This staffing shortage spans social and education, health and care, construction, and IT. To address this issue, the country is heavily relying on labor immigration.


Labor Immigration in Germany: From Post-War Pacts to Present-Day Labor Dynamics


In 1955, Germany began recruiting foreign labor through an agreement with Italy. Later, the country signed similar agreements with other countries. Some of these countries were Spain, Greece, Morocco, and Turkey.

The economic slowdown in the early 1970s, aggravated by the oil crisis, prompted a cessation of foreign labor recruitment. Exceptions were rare, leading to a decline in foreign workers entering Germany.

However, legislative changes over time adapted to economic needs. The introduction of the EU Blue Card in 2012 aimed to simplify entry for skilled non-EU workers, aligning with Germany’s demographic strategy.

Presently, Germany’s labor immigration system is aiming to meet the demands of its labor market. It reflects a commitment to leveraging a diverse and skilled workforce to address economic shifts and skill shortages.


Labor Immigration in Germany Is on the Rise


A recent release from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reveals a sharp rise in labor immigration in Germany.  

Official data shows that Germany saw a noteworthy 19% surge in foreigners holding temporary residence titles for employment. The total count reached around 351,000 individuals from non-EU countries. 

It is important to note that the EU Blue Card emerges as the primary residence title for temporary labor migration. 

This data underscores the ongoing importance of foreign labor in meeting Germany’s workforce needs.

Additionally, the Institute for Employment Research predicts a need for an annual net immigration of 400,000 workers, as highlighted by The Local. This forecast is essential to maintain the current labor volume and is projected to continue until 2035.


Germany’s Immigration Reform: A Paradigm Shift


The German parliament has recently enacted a groundbreaking law aimed at attracting skilled migrant workers to the country. This marks a notable shift in Germany’s traditional approach to labor immigration.

The newly introduced legislation seeks to simplify the immigration process, reducing bureaucratic hurdles for individuals outside the EU. A key aspect of the reform is the adoption of a points-based system similar to Canada’s. The system will take into account factors such as age, skills, qualifications, and connections to Germany. 

Notably, criteria related to salary, education, and German language proficiency will be more flexible. Furthermore, the law allows not only spouses and children but also parents to accompany migrant workers, providing additional incentives.

The motivation behind this policy shift lies in addressing Germany’s emerging labor shortage. Business leaders have raised concerns about the millions of job vacancies that need to be filled, emphasizing the labor shortage as a significant risk to the German economy.

Despite facing opposition in parliament, some believe the new law will gain broad acceptance from voters.

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