German aims to attract 400,000 qualified workers from overseas every year in order to mitigate a demographic imbalance and labour shortages in key sectors that risk undermining the recovery from the coronavirus-induced COVID-19 pandemic.
“The shortage of skilled workers has become so serious by now that it is dramatically slowing down our economy,” sad Christian Duerr, parliamentary leader of the co-governing Free Democrats (FDP). “We can only get the problem of an ageing workforce under control with a modern immigration policy… We have to reach the mark of 400,000 skilled workers from abroad as quickly as possible”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, Duerr’s libertarian FDP and the environmentalist Greens are on the same page on the measures that are needed including a points system for specialists from countries outside the European Union, lifting the national minimum wage to $13.60 (12 euros) an hour to make working in Germany more attractive.
According to the German Economic Institute’s estimates, the labour force in the country is likely to shrink by more than 300,000 people in 2022 since there are more older workers retiring than younger ones entering the labour market.
This age gap is expected to widen to more than 650,000 in 2029, leaving an accumulated shortage of people of working age in 2030 of roughly 5 million.
The number of Germans in employment grew to nearly 45 million last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Following decades of low birth rates and a uneven migration policy, a shrinking labor force risks a demographic time bomb for the country’s public pension system, wherein fewer employees are burdened with financing the pensions of a growing mass of retirees who are enjoying longer life expectancy.