Germany is caught in an alarming situation where it is running out of skilled workers, according to the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Employment Agency, Detlef Scheele, Germany needs around 400,000 immigrants per year – and thus significantly more than in previous years. “But for me, it is not about asylum, but about targeted immigration to fill the gaps in the labour market,” Scheele told newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “From care and air conditioning to logisticians and academics: There will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere.”
The head of Germany’s national labour agency said the country needs significantly more immigrants to plug gaps in the workforce as the population ages. Due to the demographic development, the number of potential workers of typical professional age in Europe’s biggest economy will decrease by almost 1,50,000 this year.
Acknowledging possible resistance to migration, Scheele said, “You can stand up and say: We don’t want foreigners. But that doesn’t work.” “The fact is: Germany is running out of workers,” adding, “It will be much more dramatic in the next few years.”
Germany can only solve the problem by qualifying the unskilled and people with lost jobs, letting women workers who involuntarily work part-time work longer – and above all by bringing immigrants into the country.
The Covid-19 crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the problem of insufficient immigration of skilled workers. Last year, the number of applications for recognition of foreign professional qualifications to the German authorities fell by 3 percent to 42,000, according to the Federal Statistical Office. The procedure was reformed in March 2020 with the Skilled Workers Immigration Act and is intended to ensure accelerated processes.
In 2020, 44,800 foreign qualifications were recognised nationwide as being fully or partially equivalent to German qualifications. That was 5 percent more than the year before. Two-thirds of these (29,900) were in the medical health professions. Of this, a good half (15,500) were caregivers. According to their country of origin, people from Bosnia-Herzegovina made up the largest group with 3,600, ahead of Serbia (3,400) and Syria (3,100).