In order to cope with future economic challenges, German companies are increasingly seeking to recruit a skilled foreign workforce, both inside and outside the EU’s borders. As for the recruitment of skilled labor from non-European countries, Germany has become, in the last five years, undisputed champion in the distribution of Blue Cards. Similar to the US Green Card, the Blue Card is a European-wide approved work permit (Council Directive 2009/50 / EC) allowing highly qualified non-European citizens to work and settle in any location. countries of the European Union, with the exception of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In this article, we will reveal among other things what are the conditions for obtaining the Blue Card and what it entitles.
Why in Germany?
The German demographic challenge
The birth rate of the German population has always been low since the 1970s, and in 2015 the number of deaths was 187,625. One of the current challenges, as a result of the low birth rate, is a family-friendly society. The persistence of very low birth rates, as in the last four decades, predicts serious social, economic and geopolitical problems for Germany. It is estimated that by 2025, Germany will need 6 million foreign workers to pay the pensions of baby boomers who will then retire.
The good economic health of Germany
Germany has resisted better than its continental neighbors to the economic crisis. With its relatively low unemployment rate and a still healthy growth rate, it attracts a large number of young European graduates willing to use their freedom of movement. The number of immigrants from the EU Member States was above average. According to statistics from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), around 439,000 people from the EU immigrated to Germany in 2017, up from 277,000 in 2016. As a result, immigrants came mainly from Europe. ballast. One third came from Poland, another third from Romania, followed by Bulgaria.
In order to make up for its shortage of qualified manpower, Germany has to rely, in addition, on skilled workers from outside Europe. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 21,727 EU blue cards were issued in Germany in 2017, up from 17,362 the previous year. Of the cards issued in 2017, 11,738 were new, ie cards issued to persons who did not have a residence permit in Germany before.
Training Policy and Labor Market Requirements
A final explanation for the current skills gap in Germany is the persistent mismatch between training policy and the real needs of the labor market. In order to function, the German economy will increasingly need skilled workers, be they academics (Akademiker) or skilled workers (Facharbeiter), but in specific fields and geographical areas. That is why Germany has drawn up a list of shortage trades (Mangelberufe) whose needs have been quantified according to each Bundesland. For these trades, of which we give you a non-exhaustive list below, the conditions for obtaining the Blue Card have therefore been considerably relaxed.
What is the Blue Card?
Source: Opihuck (talk) – Bundesgesetzblatt 2012, I S. 1230, Gemeinfrei
A European immigration measure was chosen
At the origin of the Blue Card is a European Commission Directive dating from 2009 (2009/50 / EG), aimed at harmonizing between EU countries (with the exception of the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Ireland) the conditions for obtaining a work and residence permit for qualified immigrant workers from non-European countries.
The term Blue Card obviously refers to the famous North American Green Card, the blue color evoking the European star flag. Nevertheless, the Blue Card differs widely from the Green Card if only because its conditions of attribution, including income and qualification conditions, are strictly defined, whereas even today, the Green Card is issued by drawing.
Finally, the economic immigration that the Blue Card proposes to simplify for skilled workers should not be confused with immigration for political (asylum seekers) or family reasons (family reunification). Immigrants eligible for a Blue Card are selected on the basis of their economic profitability, ie the capital they bring to the European economy and the jobs they are able to fill, to the exclusion of all other considerations.
äftigungsverordnung (BeschV) a positive list (Positivist) of trades suffering from a shortage of manpower classified by Bundesland has been established. For these businesses, the income requirements were considerably reduced (€ 39,624 instead of € 50,800).
The jobs in shortage of manpower for the graduates of higher education (Mangelberufe für Akademiker) relate mainly to trades falling sectors MINT (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology). The German economy thus recruits in priority:
There is also a list of less skilled trades. Skilled trades for skilled workers (Mangelberufe für Facharbeiter) mainly concern technicians, craftsmen, health care workers, etc. For the latter, other trainings and income conditions apply to obtain the Blue Card.
The challenges of labor market integration
At the European level
Nevertheless, European harmonization is far from perfect regarding the conditions for obtaining the Blue Card. Thus, if Germany has given up demanding sufficient knowledge in German to be able to file its case, which should enable it to better compete with the Anglo-Saxon countries, often considered as more attractive by the world’s skilled workforce. English is the rule, the same is not true for France, which still requires knowledge of French in order to obtain the Blue Card.
On a national level
According to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag), one in five German companies (one out of four in the South) is looking to recruit abroad. This need for skilled labor is especially important for SMEs, which are vital to the German economy. Indeed, large Konzern have no difficulty recruiting foreign labor since they are already well established abroad.
Also, if a city like Berlin can seem very attractive because of its international character, knowing that it is certainly easier to integrate in a big multicultural city, it is nevertheless in the small SMEs of the small towns of Bavaria or of Baden-Württemberg that the need for foreign labor is the most pressing
In conclusion, therefore, it will be remembered that with the liberalization of the conditions for obtaining the Blue Card (lowering of the required salary level, abandonment of the prerequisite for knowledge of the German language, etc.) Germany, a country traditionally perceived as not frankly favorable to immigration, managed to achieve a radical change of image and to attract the qualified workforce which its economy needed. Since 2013, the country is ranked second among the destinations of global emigration, just behind the United States.