Faced with a shortage of highly qualified specialists and skilled workers in many hi-tech fields, Germany has eased the restrictions on migration of some professional groups from non-EU countries that had made it more difficult for them to find work in the country. It is for the first time, since the regulations on the recruitment of these professionals were tightened in the early 1970s, that the German government has agreed with industry and union leaders to go for a long-term concept that includes changing immigration laws.
The new concept endorsed by the cabinet yesterday, exempted mechanical and electrical engineers, automobile constructors and medical professionals from a requirement that German companies can appoint them only when suitable candidates are not available within the country or in the EU. German companies intending to recruit those specialists from non-EU countries no longer require to produce such a certification from the Federal Labour Office, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Merkel said her government''s concept is a two-pronged strategy to tackle the shortage of specialists by exploiting the potential available within the country and by making the country more attractive for specialists from non-EU countries. German Institute for Labour Market Research estimates that the country will face a shortage of around 6.5 million specialists and skilled workers by 2025 as a result of an ageing population if effective steps were not taken to offset the decline through migration and by developing domestic resources. Another institute forecasts German labour market will have vacancies for up to 240,000 engineers by 2020. The opening of German labour market for job-seekers from East European members of the EU on May 1 did very little to alleviate the shortage of specialists because the influx of workers so far were mainly in the low-wage segment, the studies said. Shortage of specialists and skilled workers at present is very acute in the fields of mathematics, information technology and natural sciences and it reached a record level of 150,000 vacancies, according to the estimates of the Federal Labour Office. .