Germany is struggling with an increasing skilled labor shortage, with 49,7 % of companies affected and a record high of 537.923 unfilled positions (as of the 12-month-average from July 2021 to July 2022). These challenges have had an immense effect on the economy, and if they continue, they can significantly hinder economic expansion. That poses the question of how to manage it.
What is a Skilled Labor Shortage?
A skilled labor shortage exists when the number of job offers in a specific geographical region exceeds the number of qualified workers for a particular profession.
It is to be found all over Europe, with Germany being one of the affected countries with 4,1 % of unfilled positions. The German government is working against the shortage by planning to improve training, offer more extended vocational training programs, raise the number of women working, and simplify access to Germany for qualified individuals from abroad.
If you are a skilled professional living in a non-EU Country and thinking about moving to Germany, there are different visas to consider. Contact us to find out more about how to immigrate to Germany successfully.
The Situation in Germany
In July, a survey by the Ifo-Institute, a German institute for economic research, showed that half the companies in Germany stated that they are affected by a labor shortage. This shortage is the highest number since the annual surveys by the Ifo were first taken in 2009.
The Institute of German Economy, “IW” (Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft), published a study in August 2022. The study displays that the areas most affected are social work, childcare, the health sector (especially nursing), information technology, trades like plumbing and heating installation, and automobile technology. Especially in social work, the number of vacant positions is massive. Out of 26.500 open positions, 20.600 could not be adequately staffed in 2021/2022. The IT sector is also affected heavily, with over 13.600 vacant positions and 9 out of 10 positions unable to be filled.
Reasons for Skilled Labor Shortage
Several reasons contribute to the increasing skilled labor shortage in Germany. First, the retirement of the generation born in the 1950s and 60s (“Baby Boomers”) leaves a lot of positions open. By 2036, 30 % of the gainfully employed persons will have retired. Yet another reason is that more young people are deciding to study instead of choosing apprenticeship training. This tendency has been a long-rising trend as the number of students has risen by 63,6 % in the past 20 years. Also, the Covid-19 Pandemic left no possibility for companies to advertise their training in person, such as during school visits or career fairs, to gain trainees.
How to Counteract the Skilled Labor Shortage
As mentioned, politicians are trying to counter the skilled labor shortage by focusing more on improving and promoting vocational training and bettering childcare offers to encourage stay-at-home parents to rejoin the workforce. Either way, in addition to working on the potential inside the country, increasing qualified immigration to Germany is also an integral part of minimizing the labor shortage. There are various kinds of visas to consider if you are planning to move to Germany for work.
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is an excellent possibility for highly qualified specialists to move to Germany for 4 years with the option of applying for a permanent residence permit.
In addition to the general visa requirements, the Applicant must provide the following:
- a university degree that is equivalent to a German university degree and
- an employment contract for a highly skilled job with an annual income of at least € 56,400.00 (or € 43,992.00 for certain occupations like natural scientists, engineers, medical doctors, and professionals in information technology.
Skilled Immigration Act
The Skilled Immigration Act of 2020 allows non-EU-nationals who have completed foreign vocational training equivalent to German vocational training to come and work in Germany. The skilled workers can apply for permanent residence 4 years after finding work in Germany.
Find out more about the Skilled Immigration Act and the EU Blue Card.
German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil plans to improve easier immigration by presenting a new point-based visa, the so-called Chancenkarte (“opportunity card”). It allows foreign nationals to come to Germany to look for work (without a prior job offer) if they fulfill three out of the four following criteria:
- A university degree or other professional qualification,
- Professional experience of three years minimum,
- German language skills or past residence in Germany,
- Are under 35 years of age.
It bears mentioning that, unlike the current situation, foreign nationals will not need to have their professional qualification recognized beforehand. Instead, professional recognition can be submitted after arriving and having started working in Germany.
The topic of immigration is complex and often subject to change. Please, do not hesitate to contact us for professional counsel and to answer all your remaining questions. Our lawyers are happy to assist you through the whole immigration process in a variety of languages.