Achim Dercks, Deputy Managing Director of the DIHK on the opportunities for international specialists in Germany and the required contribution of local companies and authorities.

“Oh how beautiful Canada is” is the headline in the newspapers. How far away is Germany from the attractiveness of this destination country for skilled workers?

Our companies are certainly attractive for well-trained international skilled workers. However, our immigration procedures are often too complicated, too bureaucratic and take too long. We need to become faster and more digital here. Overall, the lack of digitalisation in many areas of life can deter skilled workers from abroad, as can high tax and social security contributions and the often scarce and expensive housing. Without sufficient German language skills, it is often difficult for international professionals. Therefore, it would be helpful if, for example, initial contacts with the authorities for immigration could also be conducted in English. 

Which of the recently adopted measures of the Skilled Workers Immigration Act now need to be implemented efficiently? What is missing?

It is important that the regulations are as simple and transparent as possible so that even small businesses can understand them and thus also benefit from recruiting skilled workers abroad. Many of the government’s ideas are going in the right direction. It would be a pity if they were not implemented. For example, making it easier for immigrants to find jobs is a good approach. However, the points system via the opportunity card harbours the danger of new bureaucracy, especially if it is to be managed by the already often overburdened foreigners authorities. 

What “homework” do companies have to do in terms of welcome culture in order to remain competitive?

Many companies are already doing a lot here. For example, there are employees who act as mentors in the company to help new colleagues with their integration. Companies also provide support in language acquisition or in finding accommodation. Since many skilled workers from abroad do not yet speak German very well, companies have to be realistic here. However, it is also important for companies to find support for the integration of their employees. Welcome centres in the region, for example, can make an important contribution here.  

How do you see it: Doesn’t the “war for talents” also apply to the foreign locations of German companies?

German companies operating abroad also compete for talent with local and foreign companies. German employers enjoy high recognition among skilled workers because of their traditional strengths such as long-term planning, social security and their investments in education and training. “Make it in Germany” continues to have a strong appeal. For highly qualified professionals with academic training, there is the so-called Blue Card, which means a work permit for the entire EU. Germany now issues up to 95 per cent of all European Blue Cards.

How do the DIHK and the Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) provide local support in recruiting skilled workers?

The AHKs have been recruiting skilled workers for German companies locally for years. According to our latest survey, recruitment services are offered at more than 20 locations. Some AHKs have also gained experience in recruiting skilled workers for the German labour market. The DIHK supports this with projects that accompany skilled workers on their way to the German labour market, from counselling to integration into the labour market.

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