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  • Aabid Sakir

5 Changes That Germany Plans to Make to Skilled Workers Immigration Act

The German government is undertaking more measures to make the immigration system to the country for foreign skilled workers more alluring by scraping numerous bureaucratic procedures and introducing facilitations for third-country workers with professional qualifications. - Advertisement - The country now is on its way to reform the Skilled Workers Act, which came into force on March 1, 2020, in a bid of the German government to boost immigration of qualified individuals from abroad, and tackle labour shortages, reports. The reform of the act had been initiated by the current government on November 30, last year, with the main objective being expediting the recruitment of skilled workers from third countries for the German labour market. “To be able to compete for talent and auxiliary workers, we are offering new, and more importantly, more straightforward ways to work in Germany,” the Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil had said at the time. Now, three months later, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland (BMI) and the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) have initiated a hearing with the Federal states and associations, on the changes that should be made to the act. Commenting on this regard, the BMI Minister Nancy Faeser said that through the new reforms Germany intends to remove bureaucratic hurdles, in particular for those in areas greatly needed in Germany, like artisanal jobs and healthcare. Announcing the launch of the hearing, Minister Heil also pointed out that through these reforms Germany will offer easier ways to work in its territory for skilled third country nationals, in a bid to become a leader in the international competition “for bright minds and helping hands.” “Our economic prosperity is also determined by our responses to securing skilled workers. That is why we are focusing on more training and further education, more female employment and flexible transitions to retirement. But we also need immigration from abroad to have enough skilled workers in the country. With the new Skilled Immigration Act, we are making the necessary progress,” he said. The first year of the Skilled Workers Act has been considered successful, after within a year, 50,000 German visas have been issued to skilled third-country citizens under the Act, despite the pandemic and border closures. The highest number of visas, 2,024, were granted to the citizens of Serbia, while other Balkan countries are also listed amongst the countries with the highest number of visas received. Bosnia and Herzegovina is listed seventh with 1,159 visas, whereas Kosovo and Albania are listed ninth and tenth, with 792 visas and 778 visas, respectively. >> Germany Warns of Radical Visa Reforms: We Will Turn the Procedures Upside Down EU Blue Card to Become Accessible for More Specialists With a University Degree The first change that Germany intends to make to the Skilled Workers Act is to make Germany’s Blue Card more accessible for a higher number of specialists who hold a university degree. In addition, it also wants to make the migration system more alluring for foreigners to come to Germany for vocational training or study and then to further stay in the country, in order to strengthen its position as a leading country in the field of higher and professional education. The EU Blue Card is an EU residency document granted by the Member States individually, to highly-qualified workers from outside the EU. The document grants its holder with the right to live and work in an EU country, provided they have higher professional qualifications, such as a university degree, and an employment contract or a binding job offer with a high salary compared to the average in the EU country where the job is. After initial work in the EU country that issued the Blue Card, its holder has the right to move and work in other countries, later on. Formal Recognition of University Degrees No Longer Necessary Second, the German government wants to permit third country citizens to move to work in Germany in their field of expertise without having to undergo the procedures for formal recognition of their degree and professional qualification. “In the future, it will be sufficient if someone can prove their qualification for a non-regulated profession through a foreign professional or university degree and professional experience,” the BMI says in a press release regarding the reforms. Yet, it will remain a requirement for foreign workers to be offered a salary that is above the set threshold in order to ensure fair working conditions and pay for foreigners and prevent their exploitation. Recognition of Professional Qualification Can Be Made After Arriving in Germany As per those who want to have their foreign professional qualification recognised in Germany, the government wants to make it possible for them to initiate the process after they have entered the country, and not before, as it currently is. The government believes that such a change will enable employers to hire foreign specialists more quickly, and at the same time, it will also be easier for the workers to have their qualification recognized in Germany, while also working in qualified employment. Opportunity Card for Job Seekers to Come in Germany Foreigners who haven’t found a job in Germany from their home country will soon be able to move in Germany first, and then find a workplace. This will be made possible through the Opportunity Card, a one-year valid jobseekers visa, which will be issued to foreigners according to a points-based system, which will evaluate the applicant’s qualified employment. With this visa, foreigners will be able to work in trial or secondary employment. Short-Term Employment to Be Permitted in Specific Cases The government also wants to make it possible for German employers to hire foreigners for short-term periods in cases when their needs are temporary needs, regardless of special qualification requirements. Yet, the number of workers that will be hired this way will be capped, while the collective agreements and compulsory social security will ensure the protection of short-term employees. >> Germany Turns to Migrants & Foreigners to Fill Job Positions

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