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Stamp on it: Bureaucracy is considered a burden on the economy

Photo: Sebastian Gollnow / picture alliance / dpa

In view of the shortage of skilled workers, the President of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, Jörg Dittrich, has called for a faster and less bureaucratic integration of refugees into the labour market. "We have to be much more pragmatic," Dittrich told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

"An entrepreneur should decide for himself who he can employ in his company. This should be possible without language tests and integration courses," said Dittrich. If someone works, they may learn the language much faster – and integrate much more easily."

In principle, refugees can take up employment in Germany after three months. "However, there are too many exceptions to this and should be urgently revised," said Dittrich.

Anyone who "wants to make a living themselves and achieve something is always welcome in the trades," said the head of the association. More than ever, the competent authorities are called upon to interpret their discretion in a way that is conducive to training and employment."

Allowing refugees to work right from the start

Many craft businesses are already very flexible and train and employ refugees. "But there are also companies that have not yet understood that securing skilled workers will become a matter of survival. The consequences of the ageing society are already being felt and will be felt even more strongly in the coming years," said the President of the Skilled Crafts Association.

The day before, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities had put forward similar ideas. He calls for asylum seekers to be given work permits relatively soon after their arrival if they have any prospect of being recognised. "The DStGB is in favour of refugees with the prospect of staying being allowed to work right from the start," said Chief Executive Gerd Landsberg to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Work can make a significant contribution to integration, and the need on the labour market is there.

"What is needed is not symbolic politics," said Landsberg, "but pragmatic approaches to dealing with the refugees who are here, and a limitation of the influx for the future."

The President of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Peter Adrian, also complained about bureaucracy and the shortage of skilled workers as major problems of the economy. For example, a "flood of standards" overwhelms large and small companies as well as government agencies that can no longer keep up with the control. Companies urgently need to be relieved.

Adrian calls on politicians to take measures to keep Germany competitive as a business location. In a so-called "incendiary letter" to the heads of all chambers of commerce and industry as well as the foreign chambers of commerce, Adrian wrote of a serious economic situation. The letter is available to the German Press Agency. Adrian cites high energy prices, the shortage of labour and skilled workers, the dilapidated infrastructure and high bureaucratic burdens.

Rising energy prices as a major problem

The economic outlook for Germany has deteriorated. The leading economic research institutes have sharply lowered their economic forecasts for this year. They expect gross domestic product to shrink by 0.6 percent, the institutes announced on Thursday. In the spring, the institutes had expected a mini-growth of 0.3 percent.

"The most important reason for this is that industry and private consumption are recovering more slowly than we expected in the spring," said Oliver Holtemöller, deputy president of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) last Thursday.

The sharp rise in energy prices in 2022 has stalled the recovery from the corona pandemic, inflation is depriving households of purchasing power and the latest interest rate hikes are weighing on the construction industry, it added. The mood in companies has recently deteriorated again, and political uncertainty is also contributing to this. For next year, the researchers expect an increase of 1.3 percent. They thus lowered their forecast by 0.2 percentage points.