Can Migration Fix Mass Worker Shortage Problem in Germany?


Aarushi Jain
Updated on May 15, 2023 11:54 AM IST

According to various sources and reports, Germany is now facing a mass worker or labour shortage. By 2035, the country's economy will be lacking 7 million individuals. In addition, AfD has risen in surveys as a result of sentiments against immigration.

Can Migration Fix Mass Worker Shortage Problem in Germany?

Turks have long been Germany's oldest and biggest minority population, having arrived as guest workers under schemes created in the 1950s. However, they are now only a minor fraction of a massive influx of refugees to Germany, which has intensified substantially since Russia invaded Ukraine. The inflow has taxed social institutions and renewed long-running arguments over integration and border policy, even as the country faces a severe labour crisis. 

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is attempting to strike a balance between opposing illegal immigration and encouraging highly educated foreigners to work in Germany. 

Also Read: Germany to Process 25,000 Student Visas from India in 2023

This year, 320,000 more individuals will reach retirement age than will turn 18; as a result, the German economy will lose employees and face higher pension costs. According to labour minister Hubertus Heil, the economy would lose up to 7 million jobs by 2035, or nearly the combined population of Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. In response, Scholz's ruling coalition stated that it aims to bring in 400,000 competent foreign employees annually.

At the same time, the country is having difficulty coping with the about 1.25 million immigrants who arrived in Germany in 2022, including nearly 245,000 asylum applicants, primarily from Afghanistan and Syria and around 1 million from Ukraine, according to the internal ministry. Local officials have issued warnings that there is not enough housing to accommodate everyone and that many schools are at full. 

Now, Merkel's dilemma appears to be resurfacing as Scholz and his coalition have drawn condemnation for their plans to reduce the amount of time that individuals must reside in Germany before applying for citizenship, relax the language requirements for applicants, and permit people to have more than one passport. 

On May 10, 2023, he declared that stricter measures to detain and deport immigrants who had entered the country unlawfully or whose asylum request had been denied would go hand in hand with an additional EUR 1 billion (which is around USD 1.1 billion) in funding for housing and integration of asylum seekers. 

Contrary to Merkel, Scholz's administration is attempting to use agreements as the primary tool to shape and direct immigration, negotiating agreements with allies like India that would establish legal routes for workers to enter Germany and require those allies to return people who are about to be deported.

Meanwhile, AfD's popularity has increased once again in recent months, and in some surveys, they have surpassed the Greens to take third place as Germany’s most popular party. 

Also Read: Targeting 15,000 Int’l Students by 2030, Finland Eyes Indian Students and Workers

Moreover, integration, a topic on which Germany has long put limitations, is a key point of disagreement. Since the end of World War II, no official surveys in the country as a whole have gathered information on race or ethnicity, making it challenging to compare the chances of employment or educational outcomes for various groups. 

In 2020, a study was conducted to examine the Black population in Germany, which is thought to number around one million. The country now formally distinguishes between citizens with and without a migratory background, a degree of specificity that is relatively new yet statistically flawed since it combines disparate groups.

Source: The Economic Times

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