- Cristina J. Orgaz @cjorgaz
- BBC News World
Working legally in Germany for any Latin American is a little closer.
The country, which has been suffering from an acute lack of workers for years, has always tried to fish for the workforce it lacks in countries of the European Union.
But a turn in its immigration policies will now make the arrival of non-European citizens more flexible.
In early September, the German Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, revealed plans to create an “opportunity card” (Chancenkarte in German) with a point-based system.
It is a kind of “Green Card” like the one in the United States whose objective is to attract specialized professionals.
What does it consist of
One of the most striking things about the proposal this time is that foreigners will be able to come to look for work.
In other words, they do not need to have an offer in order to be eligible for the visa, as is the case in many countries.
This will save candidates from having to submit the request from abroad.
the new card, Planned for fall of this year, will allow anyone who meets three of these four requirements to move to Germany and look for work:
- College degree.
- Knowledge of the German language or having lived in Germany.
- Three years of work experience.
- Being under 35 years old.
Also They must show that they can to pay their bills for how long they will be in Germany before finding a job.
What is the reason for the change in the law?
The so-called “engine of Europe” is a country of immigration.
almost a 20% of the population was born abroad and at least 25% have a migratory family history.
The country is well known for welcoming immigrants during the 1970s, in the early 1990s when the bloc of Eastern European countries collapsed, and more recently in the refugee crisis from Syria, to cite three examples of historical moments in which country opened its doors to immigration.
“In part, the postwar economic boom in Germany It was due to that influx of workers,” explains Ulf Rinne, senior researcher at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) in Germany, to BBC Mundo.
The main problem facing the country right now is ageing, which will cause many more people leaving the labor market in the coming years of those who enter it, as is the case in several European countries.
“The labor shortage affects almost all sectors of the German labor market. However, the situation is particularly tense in the scientific, technical, medical and nursing professions“, says Wido Geis-Thöne, senior economist for family policy and migration issues at the German Economic Institute (IW).
Implications in the economy
If the problem is not corrected, the consequences for the German economy could be catastrophic.
“If jobs cannot be filled on a large scale, this means that companies are not reaching their full economic potential.”
“In industry, this can lead to relocation of the factories abroad and a deteriorating supply situation in Germany,” adds Geis-Thöne.
“The shortage of qualified workers and the decrease in the young population in Germany, which already hindered the development of the German economy before the crisis, it has now become a labor shortage.
“This lack it has also reached the low-wage sector“.
Which sectors offer opportunities
The lack of employees affects many companies and sectors.
According to the latest economic survey of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) a total of 56% of German companies saw their business in danger due to the shortage of qualified workers.
“The industry of construction, transportation, hospitality, health and social services as well as technology service providers are the most affected,” says Thomas Renner, spokesman for the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
“The advantage of such a system is that missing criteria can be compensated to some extent by others,” says Renner.
Other local media also quote the electricians, economists, production assistants, sales managers, architects and civil engineers.
According to Minister Hubertus Heil, the number of cards to be awarded will be limitedand will depend on the needs of the labor market.
“It is not yet clear whether Germany will succeed in attracting a young workforce,” says Geis-Thöne.
“German immigration law is already liberal rather than restrictive with regard to labor migration and educational migration. However, administrative procedures are very long and the access routes are sometimes difficult for people abroad to understand,” he adds.
language and bureaucracy
But what many experts agree on is that the country faces two huge problems that go beyond the intentions of this proposal.
The first is the difficulty of the language.
The second is the administrative obstacles to validate a college degree or the training.
“The german language is a big obstacle and a disadvantage in international competition,” says Rinne.
“This cannot be fully compensated, but it can be reduced, for example, through daily, cultural and leisure activities in a foreign language and, above all, in English,” he says.
“Also, Germany hesitating too much to recognize professional qualifications acquired abroad”
“Procedures need to be speeded up and digitized, and formal hurdles should be lowered because German standards simply cannot be required everywhere in the world,” says the expert.
Another problem that Germany will encounter in its plan is the international competition.
“The number of well-educated skilled workers in third countries is limited and other countries are also interested in them. Anglo-Saxon countries have the advantage that most of the highly-skilled people around the world speak English well anyway,” says economist Geis-Thöne.
“Above all, a coherent global package of integration policy measures. This should focus not only on the entrance, but also on the phase before and after,” Rinne believes.
Germany is especially strong in companies that have 100 or 200 people and that despite their average size, they compete in the international market and are exporters.
The country’s business fabric is made up above all of the Mittelstand (small and medium-sized companies) which, according to specialists, They make up 95% of the German economy.
They are usually family structures with long-term plans, strong investment in staff training, high sense of social responsibility and great regional presence.
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