After months of wrangling, Germany’s coalition government has reached an agreement on the key points of a new immigration law — one that is aimed at filling labor shortages and stabilizing the public pension system by encouraging the immigration of skilled workers from outside the European Union.
The new law, which will tighten restrictions on the immigration of unskilled workers, is a tacit admission that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, which has allowed into Germany more than a million mostly unskilled migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has failed to resolve the country’s most pressing demographic challenges and labor shortages.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) presented the compromise agreement during a joint press conference in Berlin on October 2.
The so-called Fachkräftezuwanderungsgesetz (Law on Immigration of Skilled Workers) would waive existing requirements for companies to give preference to German or EU citizens when filling job vacancies. Specifically, it would allow companies to recruit non-EU (Drittstaaten) citizens in all economic sectors, provided that those recruits are qualified for the job and have satisfactory German language skills.