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Germany is becoming less popular with foreign skilled workers – patent applications are declining

In an international comparison, Germany has lost popularity among skilled workers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from abroad.

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Germany is becoming less popular with foreign skilled workers – patent applications are declining

In an international comparison, Germany has lost popularity among skilled workers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from abroad. This is the result of a study published on Thursday by the OECD in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation. Reasons for this include a hesitant naturalization practice and only sluggish digitization.

"Germany is now an open and attractive country for qualified immigration," said Ulrich Kober, migration expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation. "But there is a need for action when it comes to issuing visas, digitization, naturalization or dealing with diversity." This is shown, for example, by the low influx of skilled workers from third countries and the reluctance of companies to recruit abroad.

Only for international students does Germany occupy a top position directly behind the USA, ahead of Great Britain, Norway and Australia. According to the Bertelsmann Foundation, the key factors here are excellent universities, lower study costs and good opportunities to work and live during and after your studies.

In cooperation with the industrialized nations organization OECD, the general conditions that are attractive for qualified migrants were examined for all 38 member countries. These are about the quality of professional opportunities, income and taxes, but also opportunities for family members and quality of life. When it comes to highly qualified specialists from abroad, Germany fell three places down to 15th place compared to an earlier study from 2019.

Conditions in Germany would not have deteriorated, but other countries would have caught up. Among entrepreneurs from abroad, Germany fell from 6th to 13th place. The framework conditions for start-ups were examined for the first time. Germany ranked 12th in this category. The most attractive countries are Canada, the USA, France, Great Britain and Ireland.

The new figures for domestic patent applications are also sobering. These fell by 6.6 percent to 37,194 last year, as reported by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) on Thursday. 20,020 inventions and developments were registered for patents from abroad, 6.8 percent more than in 2021.

The USA, Japan and South Korea play an important role here. The number of patent applications from China has increased rapidly, even if the absolute number is still comparatively low.

The experts at the DPMA see the figures as an indication of "structural change in innovation activity": According to the DPMA, inventions in the field of electrical engineering are increasing, while at the same time the number of patent applications from mechanical engineering and the automotive industry, two traditionally very strong branches of German industry, are falling.

"Digitization, automation and artificial intelligence as well as battery technology are playing an increasingly important role," said DPMA President Eva Schewior. "In terms of the number of patent applications, this development is currently not exactly in favor of Germany."

The majority of new patent applications are filed by companies, research institutions and individual inventors play a subordinate role. The largest customer at the DPMA is Robert Bosch GmbH with 3,946 applications, followed by BMW with 1,867. Within Germany, the south is well ahead of the north, with Baden-Württemberg in first place with 13,444 applications, ahead of Bavaria with 10,548 automatically that the patent would also be granted.

In absolute figures, the USA is in second place in the German patent statistics with 6847 applications, 16.2 percent more than in the previous year. Chinese firms filed 702 patent applications, nearly a quarter more than a year earlier.

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