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HomeFDP: Germany wants 400,000 Skilled Migrant Workers

FDP: Germany wants 400,000 Skilled Migrant Workers

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  • Labor shortages are ‘dramatically slowing’ economic activity
  • Strategies needed to handle aging society, Duerr tells WiWo

BERLIN – Germany’s new coalition government, led by the FDP party, wants to attract 400,000 skilled foreign workers each year to address both a demographic imbalance and labor shortages in key sectors that threaten to undermine the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The shortage of skilled workers has become so serious by now that it is dramatically slowing down our economy,” Christian Duerr, parliamentary leader of the co-governing Free Democrats (FDP), told business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

“We can only get the aging labor market under control with a modern immigration policy… We have to reach the mark of 400,000 skilled workers from abroad as quickly as possible.”

Duerr’s FDP is part of a three-party coalition that took office late last year, and one of its flagship projects is a revamped immigration strategy. Germany’s population is one of the oldest in the world, with nearly a quarter expected to be over 67 by the end of this decade.

A recent study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research emphasized the importance of migrant workers to the economy. According to the researchers, a sizable proportion of those already in Germany work in fields with labor shortages, such as truck drivers and nurses.

In their coalition agreement, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, Duerr’s libertarian FDP, and the environmentalist Greens agreed on measures such as a points system for specialists from outside the European Union and raising the national minimum wage to 12 euros ($13.60) per hour to make working in Germany more appealing.

According to the employer-friendly German Economic Institute, the labor force will shrink by more than 300,000 people this year as more older workers retire than younger workers enter the labor force.

This gap is expected to grow to more than 650,000 people by 2029, resulting in a 5-million-person shortfall in working-age people by 2030. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of employed Germans increased to nearly 45 million last year.

Following decades of low birth rates and uneven migration, a shrinking labor force poses a demographic time bomb for Germany’s public pension system, with fewer employees burdened with the task of financing the pensions of a growing number of retirees who are living longer lives.

SourceReuters

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