Better access to the job market
In Germany, there is a shortage of skilled workers in certain industries – most significantly medicine and care, engineering, and the technical professions. According to a survey by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) in 2019, half of all companies in Germany believe a shortage of skilled workers poses the greatest threat to their commercial development.
As a result of demographic change, job vacancies cannot be filled solely by domestic skilled workers. According to estimates by the Federal Statistical Office, the number of people of working age will fall by four to six million by the year 2035.
New Skilled Immigration Act
In light of Germany’s demographic change, one of the Federal Government’s most pressing tasks is also to secure its skilled labour base.
It was to this end that it introduced the Skilled Immigration Act, which has been in force since 2020. This enables skilled workers from non-EU countries to gain more straightforward access to the German labour market. This was necessary since ever more companies have been unable to fill even well-paid positions that offer excellent prospects for personal development in fields ranging from the trades to engineering. Previously, only skilled workers with academic training had unlimited access to the job market, but this now also applies to skilled workers with a vocational qualification obtained abroad. The prerequisite for this is recognition of the qualification by a responsible body within Germany.
If the skilled worker has enough money to live on and their knowledge of German is sufficient for the work they are aiming to do, they can enter the country to look for a job. They will receive a residency permit and can work a trial period of up to ten hours per week.
A similar regulation now applies to applicants for places in training and education. Previously only those interested in studying for a university degree were able to enter the country to seek a place, but now those seeking other kinds of training are also eligible. The prerequisite for this is knowledge of German, a high school leaver’s certificate from a German school abroad or a school qualification for university entry, a maximum age of 25, and independent funds to support you.