From heavy industries to health care and home maintenance professions, they all face significant labor shortages. Reforming German immigration law may be one way to bring foreign workers to the country.
Trains and planes are delayed or flights are canceled due to a shortage of workers at stations and airports. According to a census conducted by the Federation of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, around 56 percent of companies confirmed that they suffer from employee shortages, and the companies surveyed confirmed that they consider labor shortages to be one of the biggest risks to those who face.
Nationally, there are more than 1.7 million job opportunities currently available, and the German Federal Employment Agency has detected shortages in 148 job areas, while another 122 areas suffer from a situation classified as serious due to lack of manpower. .
A nursing home, for example, can wait up to eight months to find a worker. As for contracting companies, the grace period can be up to six months.
A massive labor shortage
“Five or ten years ago, we used to run ads to sell our services, but now we run ads on all media and social networks to find and attract employees,” said Markus Winter, director of the IDS agency in the state of Baden, in the south of germany. -Württemberg.
The company currently employs 750 people and is trying to find workers in 20 fields, including locksmithing, painting and driving heavy machinery.
“The shortage is not only short-lived in some of the more specialized areas, but it is a general problem in employment,” continues Venter. He added that “unskilled labor also has job opportunities.”
European boomers retire
Despite some recent factors, the problem of Labor shortage in Europe It was expected a long time ago. “Now we are in a tragic situation, and this has been expected for a long time,” says Herbert Brucker, a professor at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg.
Germany loses about 350,000 working-age people each year from its baby boomers, that is, people born in the years immediately after World War II. These people are retiring, while there are not enough young people available to take their places. The labor market will lose about seven million people by 2035, according to experts.
Previously, Germany could rely on workers from other EU countries to make up for local shortages, but now this source is running out, according to Brucker: “Other EU countries have started to experience demographic changes and are experiencing economic changes. , practically ending the possibility of counting on them to bring labor.” .
Labor laws are not encouraging
It was meant to cheer Law approved in 2020Attract the 400,000 foreign workers that Germany needs each year to work and reside in Germany. In its first year, the country attracted only 30,000, which Brooker called a “disappointment”.
The German government is looking forward to reforming this law again and defining its main points next September. The proposed changes include opening the job market to those with certain skills, even if they lack a recognized title for the job. “German employers can then help their workers get the necessary training,” said Interior Minister Nancy Visser and Labor Minister Hubertus Hill.
“Currently, the State decides who is the right operator for each company, which is not appropriate in these circumstances,” said Venter, director of IDS. He added that “companies are already hiring under-skilled workers and then helping and training them on the job, and this figure is estimated to be around 20 percent.”
“All other countries in the world have a completely different training system than Germany,” the Chamber of Commerce said in a statement backing the upcoming reform. He added that “the process begins with the granting of a visa, which does not require all these complications to obtain it.”
Employers under suspicion
Even with a contract with the required worker, said lawyer Bettina Over, starting the visa process at a German embassy can be difficult: “German authorities always suspect that company owners only want to smuggle foreigners, instead of looking for workers. .” She added: “I always have to fight against a mentality that is afraid of foreigners. We need a qualitative change in our thinking. Every factor that comes to us is a win for the country.”
Employers like Venter also hope to reform asylum laws, and he sees the level of refugees as very good, having hired around 300 of them since 2016. “From my own experience, I can assure you that it is not easy, the laws need to change,” he said.
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