Working legally in Germany for any Latin American is a little closer.
The country, which has been suffering from an acute lack of workers for years, has always tried to fish for the workforce it lacks in the countries of the European Union.
But a shift in its immigration policies will now make the arrival of non-European citizens more flexible.
In early September, the German Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, revealed plans to create an “opportunity card” (Chancenkarte in German) with a points-based system.
It is a kind of “Green Card” like the one in the United States whose objective is to attract specialized professionals.
One of the most striking things about the proposal this time is that foreigners will be able to come to look for work.
In other words, they do not need to have an offer in order to be eligible for the visa, as is the case in many countries.
This will prevent candidates from having to apply from abroad.
The new card, scheduled for autumn this year, will allow anyone who meets three of these four requirements to move to Germany and look for work:
They must also show that they can pay their expenses for the time they will be in Germany before finding a job.
The so-called “engine of Europe” is a country of immigration.
Almost 20% of the population was born abroad and at least 25% have a migratory family background.
The country is well known for welcoming immigrants during the 1970s, in the early 1990s when the bloc of Eastern European countries collapsed, and more recently in the refugee crisis from Syria, to cite three examples of historical moments in which the country opened its doors to immigration.
“In part, the post-war economic boom in Germany was due to that influx of workers,” explains Ulf Rinne, senior researcher at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) in Germany, to BBC Mundo.
The main problem facing the country right now is ageing, which will cause many more people to leave the labor market in the coming years than to enter it, as is the case in several European countries.
“The labor shortage affects almost all sectors of the German labor market. However, the situation is particularly tense in the scientific, technical, medical and nursing professions,” says Wido Geis-Thöne, senior economist at family policy and migration issues of the German Economic Institute (IW).
If the problem is not corrected, the consequences for the German economy could be catastrophic.
“If jobs cannot be filled on a large scale, this means that companies are not reaching their full economic potential.”
“In industry, this can lead to the relocation of factories abroad and a deteriorating supply situation in Germany,” adds Geis-Thöne.
Rinne agrees on this.
“The shortage of skilled workers and the decline in the young population in Germany, which was already hampering the development of the German economy before the crisis, has now turned into a labor shortage.”
“This lack has also reached the low-wage sector.”
The lack of employees affects many companies and sectors.
According to the latest economic survey by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), a total of 56% of German companies saw their business in danger due to the shortage of qualified workers.
“The construction industry, transport, the hotel industry, health and social services as well as technology service providers are the most affected,” says Thomas Renner, spokesman for the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). ).
“The advantage of such a system is that missing criteria can be compensated to some extent by others,” says Renner.
Other local media also quote electricians, economists, production assistants, sales managers, architects, and civil engineers.
According to Minister Hubertus Heil, the number of cards to be issued will be limited, and will depend on the needs of the labor market.
“It is not yet clear whether Germany will succeed in attracting a young workforce,” says Geis-Thöne.
“German immigration law is already liberal rather than restrictive with regard to labor migration and educational migration. However, the administrative procedures are very long and the access routes are sometimes difficult for people abroad to understand “, Add.
But what many experts agree on is that the country faces two enormous problems that go beyond the intentions of this proposal.
The first is the difficulty of the language.
The second is the administrative obstacles to validate a university degree or training.
“The German language is a big obstacle and a handicap in international competition,” says Rinne.
“This cannot be fully compensated, but it can be reduced, for example, through daily, cultural and leisure activities in a foreign language and, above all, in English,” he says.
“Furthermore, Germany is too hesitant to recognize professional qualifications acquired abroad”
“Procedures need to be speeded up and digitized, and formal hurdles should be lowered because German standards simply cannot be required everywhere in the world,” says the expert.
Another problem that Germany will encounter in its plan is international competition.
“The number of well-educated skilled workers in third countries is limited and other countries are also interested in them. Anglo-Saxon countries have the advantage that most highly-skilled people around the world speak English well anyway,” he says. the economist Geis-Thöne.
“Above all, a coherent global package of integration policy measures must be drawn up. This must focus not only on entry, but also before and after,” Rinne believes.
Germany is especially strong in companies that have 100 or 200 people and that, despite their average size, compete in the international market and are exporters.
The country’s business fabric is made up above all of the Mittelstand (small and medium-sized companies) which, according to specialists, make up 95% of the German economy.
They are usually family structures with long-term plans, strong investment in staff training, a high sense of social responsibility and a large regional presence.
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