Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and his cabinet colleague Nancy Faeser celebrate their Skilled Immigration Act as a milestone. The two Social Democrats recently traveled to Canada to signal to the German population that the reform was based on this successful immigration country.
A point system is to be introduced in this country, as has been used in Canada to select migrants for decades. Non-EU citizens who have knowledge of German or the qualifications they are looking for will then be able to come looking for work in the future. It should also be easier for all those third-country nationals who already have a concrete job offer before entering the country.
This is by no means a turning point in German migration policy. The draft law passed by the cabinet is just a further development of the Skilled Immigration Act passed by the previous government in 2019. Despite the easing, the difference between Canadian and German migration policy remains huge.
Because while the North American success model controls a large part of its immigration according to its own economic needs, the German Skilled Immigration Act only refers to a minimal part of migration from third countries.
The majority are refugees and asylum seekers who have significantly accelerated social change in Germany over the past ten years.
It is obvious that an aging country needs immigrants to combat the ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers. But the Federal Republic has too little to offer foreign top talent.
Interior Minister Faeser believes that progress in reforming the asylum system is needed to ensure that internal border controls in the EU remain the exception. WELT chief commentator Jacques Schuster says about the current EU immigration policy: "There is a majority that wants a tough defensive course."
The enormous tax burden, overburdened schools, a lack of housing and the German administrative jungle are a deterrent for ambitious international workers. As long as nothing changes, the easing of the Skilled Immigration Act will have little effect.
In any case, the question of whether the migrants who are already here can be better integrated into the labor market is much more decisive in the fight against the growing shortage of personnel. The fact that the majority of the Syrians who came in 2015 do not yet have a job is due to false incentives in our social system.
In other EU countries such as the Netherlands, the proportion of employed Ukrainians who have fled is many times higher. It doesn't matter what the reason for immigration is: the balance between challenging and promoting should be right.
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