Relaxation in immigration rules: Germany attracts qualified & skilled workers from India
Posted on March 11, 2013
The German government’s recent efforts to attract highly qualified workers from non-European Union countries have come as a big boost for Indian professionals who now find many other countries reluctant to lay out the red carpet for them.
Germany’s blue card scheme, launched in August 2012 to offer highly educated and skilled non-EU candidates the opportunity to live and work in Germany and the rest of EU, has been very well received with over 4,000 such work permits issued already.
According to German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, the number far exceeded expectations since the government had pegged the annual number of blue cards at just 3,600. The report says that the largest number of blue cards, 983, were issued to workers from India.The new scheme is seen to have set right some of the problems in an earlier scheme by the German government called the green card scheme, introduced about a decade back. Besides IT, there is a huge demand for skills in Germany in engineering and health sectors.
Welcoming Skilled Workers
“Over the past few years, there has been an impressive change in policies, making Germany one of the most open systems for highly-skilled labour migration in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) region.
Germany is also taking active steps to better link with origin countries (such as India) and to provide a better welcome for immigrants,” says Thomas Liebig, head of OECD labour market reports. He was part of a team at the Paris-headquartered organisation that recently published a report called ‘Germany, a review of the country’s immigration policy in the context of demographic ageing’.But it’s not just highly qualified Indians being attracted to Germany. Late last month, the German government also introduced steps to make it easier for skilled workers from non-EU countries to get their qualifications recognised in the country as the first step towards working there.
This is to address the huge skills shortages in areas such as engineering, train driving and plumbing. The new rules which were passed by the chancellor, Angela Merkel’s cabinet are likely to come into effect from July 2013.
Jobs for Plumbers & Drivers Too
For skilled Indians with training in India, the new rule means they can get a six-month job-search permit. Applicants will have to have their qualifications recognised by Germany before they can apply and will have to demonstrate sufficient resources to support themselves. And of course, those holding the visa will have to actually find a qualifying job if they want to stay on after the initial six months.”These kinds of medium-skill jobs pay well and and are highly respected in Germany. But some level of German language skills are the key to recruitment,” says Jonathan Chaloff, policy analyst, international migration division, OECD.
The German embassy in India, too, is working towards attracting more skilled professionals from India. “India has highly skilled young people, especially when it comes to mathematics, IT and natural sciences. With our new ‘Make it in Germany’ initiative, we have eased the access to our labour market for Indians,” German ambassador to India Michael Steiner said.A fall-out of the eurozone crisis for highly skilled Indian professionals has been the shrinking job opportunities in some of the popular destinations such as the UK. But in contrast, Germany’s unemployment rate has been at a low of 5.9%. Besides the EU countries, India is already the most important origin country of highly-skilled labour migration to Germany.
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