Germany seeks skilled migrants for some sectors

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11:26 AM July 23rd, 2013

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July 23rd, 2013 11:26 AM

Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen AFP FILE PHOTO

BERLIN—Germany Monday for the first time published a list of jobs it wants to fill with workers from outside the European Union to counter labor shortages in the ageing nation.

The jobs include hospital nurses and caregivers for the elderly, robotics experts, electricians and train drivers. Applicants must present qualifications deemed equal to those in Germany.

“We need skilled immigration to ensure Germany’s long-term prosperity,” said Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen. “Shortages of qualified personnel affect not just graduates but also the middle part of the labour market.”

She said the new list showed that “companies in many industries are desperately looking for qualified people — not only engineers, but also for skilled workers.”

Faced with a shrinking population and enjoying low unemployment, Europe’s biggest economy is seeking such selective immigration for the first time in a program run by its federal labor agency.

Previously, Germany struck bilateral accords to attract workers in specific fields, such as nursing staff from Croatia and the Philippines, said a spokesman for the economy ministry.

The new initiative to ease immigration formalities and cut red tape follows the European Union launching a “blue card” scheme for highly skilled job seekers from non-EU countries, and Germany easing requirements for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in a February report found that non-EU workers with low or medium skill levels have much more difficulty than foreign university graduates in obtaining work in Germany.

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