Faced With a Labor Shortage, Germany Looks Beyond Europe for Skilled Workers

Faced With a Labor Shortage, Germany Looks Beyond Europe for Skilled Workers
Protesters hold a banner that reads ‘Rather a migrant as a neighbor than the AfD in city hall’, Bensheim, Germany, Sept. 16, 2018 (Photo by Michael Debets for Sipa USA via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of a new series on immigration and integration policy around the world.

The German Cabinet is set to meet later this month to discuss a draft proposal that would loosen immigration requirements for skilled workers from outside the European Union. The plan in its current form would reportedly abandon a requirement that companies give preference to German citizens before considering foreigners for vacancies, and would also provide qualified foreigners with opportunities to come to Germany to look for jobs. While the proposal enjoys fairly broad support within the governing coalition and its constituencies, it could still be diluted as a result of further deliberation and used by the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party to further escalate the debate about immigration. In an email interview, Matthias Mayer, a senior expert with the Integration and Education Program at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Gutersloh, Germany, discusses the proposal’s prospects and potential implications.

World Politics Review: What is the rationale behind the draft proposal currently being considered by the German government to ease immigration laws? What are its implications for integration policy in Germany?

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