Source: Schengen Visa Info
In the coming months, the German Ministry of Labor will come forward with a proposal to the federal government to introduce a new immigration option for skilled foreigners.
The Ministry is working on a proposal for the creation of an “opportunity card”, which will be issued according to a points-based system. The latter will include four criteria: the applicant should be 35 or younger, have a degree, have at least three years of work experience, and have language skills or have previously stayed in Germany.
Whoever meets at least three of these four criteria will be granted an “opportunity card” to come to Germany and look for work, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We need more immigration. We will present a modern immigration law for this category in the fall… We are introducing an opportunity card with a transparent points system so that the foreign workers our country needs can come to us more easily,” the Minister of Labor, Hubertus Heil, said, revealing the plans to the newspaper BILD.
However, according to the founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com, Besart Bajrami, in the following years, Germany will have to do more than an “opportunity card” in order to be able to fill in the labor gaps that are creating challenges for many of its industries.
“The opportunity card is a good start, but it’s not enough. In recent years, we’ve seen Germany moving towards the facilitation of some of its labor migration laws in order to reduce labor shortages, and the authorities will have to continue easing these laws and create less bureaucratic procedures,” Bajrami said.
Commenting on Minister Heil’s statement that the opportunity card will have an annual cap on the number of such cards being issued, Bajrami says that the cap will have to increase every year in order to accommodate the needs of Germany’s labor market.
According to him, the reasons why Germany needs more workers are many, in particular pointing out the fact that the country’s average age is now much higher, and aside from the current shortages, the country will also need to fill in the gaps that will be created due to the huge number of people that will go into retirement in the next coming years.
Almost 13 Million Economically Active People to Reach Statutory Retirement Age in Next 15 Years
The German statistical office Statista confirmed in early August this year that once the generation of baby boomers starts to retire, the country’s labor market will lose millions of economically active people.
According to a press release of this office, by 2036, within the next 15 years, 12.9 million people born between 1957 and 1969, who are currently part of the labor market in Germany, will retire.
“This is just under 30 percent of the economically active population available to the labor market in the reference year 2021,” the press release notes, pointing out that Germany will lose almost one-third of its current workers by 2036.
The situation would not be so grave if the number of those entering the labor market were at least close to the number of those leaving.
Data by Statista show that older age groups comprise more economically active people than younger ones. While 63.6 percent of 60 to 64-year-olds participate in the labor market, 71 percent of the 20 to 24-year-olds are already available in the labor market.
However, even if all people aged from 15 to 24 in Germany were to enter the labor market after finishing their education/training, the number would still be very low at 8.4 million economically active people in 2021, compared to the number of those retiring.
Shortage of Skilled Workers in Germany Reaches an All-Time High
A survey conducted yearly by ifo Business since 2009 revealed at the beginning of August this year that the shortage of skilled workers has risen to a new high in Germany, affecting almost half of the country’s companies.
While in April 2022, 43.6 percent of the companies were affected by vacant job positions which they were unable to fill, in August the rate increased to a record high of 49.7 percent.
According to Stefan Sauer, a labor market expert at the ifo Institute, due to the absence of staff, more companies in Germany will be forced to cut down on business. “In the medium and long term, this problem is likely to become more severe,” he says.
Based on data collected by ifo Business, the top hardest hit industries are as follows:
- service providers – with 54.2 percent reporting a shortage of skilled workers
- accommodation and event industries – around 64 percent
- warehousing and storage – 62.4 percent
- the manufacturing sector, 44.5 percent
- food manufacturers – 58.1 percent
- manufacturers of data processing equipment and of metal products – 57 percent
- retail businesses – 41.9 percent
- construction companies – 39.3 percent
- wholesalers – 36.3 percent
Fertility Rates Remain Low But German Citizens Are Living Longer
While in 2021, fertility rates in Germany were up for the first time since 2017, with roughly 22,000 more newborns in 2021 than in 2020, the fertility rates among German citizens remain low.
Data released by European Union’s statistical agency Eurostat show that by 2060 Germany’s population will decrease by 14 percent. At the same time, the country’s median age is increasing every year, with the average age of German citizens being 44.6 in 2020, marking a 0.01 increase compared to the previous year.
Steffen Kröhnert, a social scientist at Berlin’s Institute for Population and Development, also points out that since 1972, deaths have outnumbered births in Germany, continuously widening the gap between births and deaths.
“The crude birth rate — defined as births per thousand inhabitants — has declined in Germany each year. Even after factoring in immigration, the German population is experiencing negative growth,” he says.
With the population, both shrinking and aging at the same time, the need to bring more foreign workers from outside Germany is becoming stronger year on year.