Germany is hoping to combat its shortage of skilled workers with a new ‘opportunity card’.
The ‘chancenkarte’ will use a points system to enable workers with required skills to come to Germany more easily.
It is part of a strategy proposed by Labour Minister Hubertus Heil to address the country’s labour shortages, which is due to be presented to the government this autumn.
Every year, quotas will be set depending on which industries need workers. Three out of four of the following criteria must also be met to apply for the scheme:
- A degree or vocational training recognised by Germany
- Three years’ professional experience
- Language skills or a previous stay in Germany
- Under 35 years old
Currently, most non-EU citizens need to have a job offer before they can relocate to Germany. A visa for job seekers already exists, but the ‘chancenkarte’ is expected to make it easier and faster for people looking to find work in Germany.
Citizens of certain countries with visa agreements can already enter Germany for 90 days visa-free but are only permitted to take up short-term employment.
The opportunity card will allow people to come and look for a job or apprenticeship while in the country rather than applying from abroad. Applicants must be able to prove they can afford to pay their living expenses in the mean time.
The exact details of the scheme are yet to be formalised.
Why does Germany need to attract skilled workers?
This year, the shortage of skilled workers in Germany has risen to an all time high. Earlier this year, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) found 1.74 million vacant positions throughout the country.
In July, staff shortages affected almost half of all companies surveyed by Munich-based research institute IFO, forcing them to slow down their operations.
Which industries are worst hit by staff shortages in Germany?
An IFO survey shows the service sector is the worst hit – especially the accommodation and event industries.
This is followed by warehousing and storage, service providers, and manufacturing – particularly in the food, data processing equipment, machinery and metal manufacturing sectors. Many retail businesses, construction companies and wholesalers have also reported staff shortages.
The pharmaceutical and chemical industries report the lowest shortage of skilled workers. The automotive and mechanical engineering industries are also suffering less than other sectors.