The German Government announced today that it will relax
immigration laws to allow 50,000 extra workers to be recruited from abroad to
meet skills shortages.
It follows a 300-page report by an independent commission that
proposed radical changes to German immigration policy.
About 7.3m foreigners already live in Germany (including
1.8m people who were born there), representing 9.1 per cent of population – the
highest proportion in the EU.
The 21-person commission was established by chancellor
Gerhard Schröder last year and is led by Rita Sussmuth, a senior member of the
opposition Christian Democratic Union.
It called for urgent action after research revealed that a
dramatically ageing and shrinking workforce are resulting in severe shortages
of skilled workers.
Germany’s 82m population would decline by 23m by 2050 if
Germany’s low birth rate persists, the report warns. Increased immigration
would slow down, rather than reverse this trend, it adds.
An IT industry association has complained that 75,000 jobs
remain unfilled, while even the hotel and catering sector, which requires lower
skilled workers, needs an additional 80,000 workers, according to industry
A new law to be presented to Parliament by the end of the
year, officials said.