Germany: skilled workers needed

On one hand, the policies to close the European borders and exacerbate the immigration laws are taken for granted nowadays, like strategies to reduce benefits and rights for EU migrants in order to stop the migration wave from European countries and non-EU countries. On the other hand, some countries, in particular Germany, will have a need of qualified workers to provide for the demographic gap and its consequences on the labor market in the next decades.

Bonn, Germany Workers are reflected between glass facades of the Bonn Post Tower, the headquarters of German postal and logistics group Deutsche Post DHL in Bonn March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Demographic gap and German labor market

According to a recent study of the German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung, without migrants the number of working age individuals will decrease from today's 45 million to 29 million, a decline of 36%. In fact, even by bringing the rate of the employed women to the same rate as that of men and increasing the retirement age to 70, the number of potential workers would rise only about 4.4 million. While Germany, in particular, will have the need to attract non-EU countries qualified workers. That’s because the migration wave from European countries to Germany will decrease in the future. In 2013, a total of 429 thousands more people came to Germany than left the Country. While in 2014, they were 470 thousands according to the data from the Federal Statistic Office. However, as mentioned in the research, these numbers would be barely sufficient to keep the country’s potential labor force at a constant level for at least the next ten years. But after this decade the “baby-boom” generation will be entering retirement and the need of immigrants will grow: one out of two of today’s skilled workers will have left the workforce by 2030.

The decline of migration within EU countries in the next decades

The record levels of immigrants from EU countries to Germany, 300 thousands in 2013, will not continue, as mentioned by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and the Coburg University. The demographic change and the lack of economic incentives because of the crisis, will decrease the migration from the EU countries. Indeed, by 2050 the EU migrants will reach an average of 70 thousands or even less. So, more and more, the migrants from non-European countries will be fundamental to keep constant the level of the German labor market. They should be between 276 thousands and 491 thousands every year by the 2050. In 2013 most third-country nationals arriving in Germany came on humanitarian or family-reunification grounds, for study, or for training: only around 25 thousands arrivals were provided of the employment –related residence permits or the Blue card.

According to the authors it would be essential to have “an easily understood immigration system that makes it clear that immigration among the skilled from outside the European Union is not only allowed, but desired”. Immigration laws should make the rules more transparent and simple and offer to migrants long term prospects and make naturalization easier.<< We must set a course now that makes Germany more attractive as a destination country for third-country nationals as well>> said Stiftung executive board member, Jörg Dräger. The study on migration reveals that qualified workers are more likely to migrate to a new country if they have concrete opportunities that are part of the system, if they receive language support , integration into the labor market, social equality and protection against discrimination.

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