The shortage of skilled workers presents companies in Germany with considerable challenges. This emerges from a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). According to this, 56 percent of the companies stated that the lack of skilled workers was the greatest business risk. According to the survey, a third of the companies have already hired foreign specialists from the EU and from non-EU countries in recent years.

Representatives of the federal government, the federal states, business and trade unions now want to come together at a summit to discuss how the law on the immigration of skilled workers passed in the summer can be implemented quickly. The law comes into force on March 1, 2020 and is intended to make it easier for qualified workers from non-EU countries to access the German labor market. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had said before the meeting that Germany needed well-qualified specialists from outside the EU as well. "A business location cannot be successful without sufficient skilled workers," said Merkel in her video message from the weekend.

In the run-up to the meeting in the Chancellery, the votes increase after a quick and unbureaucratic implementation of the planned law. DIHK President Eric Schweitzer, for example, confirmed the results of the survey and called for the Funke Media Group's newspapers to implement the Immigration Immigration Act effectively and unbureaucratically. The president of the Central Association of German Crafts, Hans Peter Wollseifer praised the law, but also demanded a "quick and unbureaucratic" implementation, for example with faster visa procedures. "We are currently assuming that around a quarter of a million jobs in the skilled trades will have to be left vacant, as the companies cannot find suitable and sometimes not appropriately qualified employees," criticized Wollseifer in the Passauer Neue Presse.

The head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Detlef Scheele, has meanwhile announced further partner agreements with other countries on the targeted immigration of skilled workers to Germany. "The Federal Agency will conclude further partner agreements on simplified labor migration to Germany with other countries, such as we already have with the Philippines or Mexico," said Scheele of the Rheinische Post. The main focus is on recruiting specialists for the health sector.
Structures would have to be set up to ensure that the recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad worked smoothly. The BA head warned that the shortage of skilled workers will become significantly more noticeable in the future. "The demography is now striking."

"Complicated maze of regulations with many bureaucratic hurdles"

Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) also sees responsibility in companies. For example, on Sunday evening he had asked the business community for a recruitment strategy. "She has to tell us in which countries she wants to recruit skilled workers for which industries," said the SPD politician on the ARD program "Report from Berlin". Only then can the federal government support this through bureaucratic simplifications.

Politicians of the Greens and the FDP expressed clear criticism of the law. It is "a complicated regulatory labyrinth with high requirements and many bureaucratic hurdles," said Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt of the AFP news agency. A "warm welcome" for foreign specialists looks different. The Greens politician also dampened expectations of the top meeting. A summit in the Chancellery could not do what the government could not do with the law. Instead, Göring-Eckardt called for "a real, modern immigration law that really helps small and medium-sized enterprises".

The labor market expert of the FDP parliamentary group, Johannes Vogel, criticized that the immigration law for skilled workers had not even come into force, since there was already the first crisis summit in the Chancellery. The number of 20,000 additional skilled workers envisaged by the law is "ridiculously small," said Vogel in the Augsburger Allgemeine.

Germany currently offers academics willing to immigrate only moderate conditions. This emerges from a joint joint study by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Accordingly, the Federal Republic of Germany is only in twelfth place in terms of attractiveness compared to the more than 30 OECD industrial countries.