The German government has announced a list of skilled occupations that it will look to fill with workers from outside of the European Union, as labour shortages in Europe’s largest economy begin to bite.
“We need skilled immigration to ensure Germany’s long-term prosperity,” said Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen yesterday. “Shortages of qualified personnel affect not just graduates but also the middle part of the labour market.”
“Companies in many industries are desperately looking for qualified people – not only engineers, but also for skilled workers,” she added.
Among the jobs included on the new list are hospital nurses, caregivers for the elderly, robotics experts, electricians and train drivers. In order to qualify, applicants must be in possession of qualifications deemed equal to those in Germany.
This is the first time the German government has taken such a selective approach to immigration from outside of the EU, having previously been regarded by many people from outside of the Union as being something of a closed shop. However, earlier this year a report carried out by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned the German government that they desperately needed to increase skilled immigration levels to stave off skills shortages brought about by a rapidly ageing population.
Over the past few months, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stated that she wants Germany to become more welcoming to immigrants, and this new list would appear to be the first step towards making those statements a reality.