Germany’s new government plans to attract 400,000 new skilled workers from abroad to the country every year, according to Chrisian Deurr, Parliamentary Leader of the co-governing Free Democrats (FD).
The push to attract this many skilled workers is an attempt to curb the downward trends in both a demographic imbalance and a labor shortage experienced in key sectors across the German economy.
One of the key challenges facing the German economy is the fact that more people are retiring than are entering the workforce. According to the employer-friendly German Economic Institute, the labor force will lose more than 300,000 workers in 2022 as part of this imbalance.
The gap expressed above is expected to grow to more than 650,000 in 2029, leaving a shortage of 5 million working aged people in 2030.
What this means is that every year, there is a far greater number of people retiring from the German workforce and far fewer people entering the workforce, leading to a deficit in skilled workers.
One of the main factors that has led to this deficit is the birth rate in Germany, which has been declining for decades. This demographic shift and replacement deficit can and will lead to big problems for the German economy as there are more people needing reinterment benefits than there are workers to pay for those benefits, among other major problems.
All of these factors has left the Government of Germany in a bind if they want to keep their economy afloat and still allow their people to retire at a reasonable age and receive benefits.
One of the solutions for this problem that has been tossed around for at least several months is attracting skilled workers (in this case 400,000 annually) from abroad to come into Germany and replace those that are retiring, or those that are getting promoted into retirees’ old positions.
“The shortage of skilled workers has become so serious by now that it is dramatically slowing down our economy,” Duerr told business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
“We can only get the problem of an aging 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,” he added.
In addition to trying to bring more workers in, others have proposed different ideas to make coming to Germany for work more attractive.
For example, the FDP and Green parties agreed on a points system for workers from outside of the EU and have proposed raising the minimum wage to €12/hour.
All of these efforts could succeed in attracting skilled third country citizens to come to work in Germany, however, the country might have to also relax their Covid-19 policies for immigrants, business travelers, and tourists. This is because these restrictions could act as a major barrier to entry for people who would otherwise be allowed to visit and work in the country.