On 22 June the Federal Cabinet presented the "Concept for
Securing Skilled Workers". The "Concept for Securing
Skilled Workers" is a package of measures aiming to primarily
secure the increasing lack of qualified skilled workers. According
to an estimate of the Federal Government, by 2005 6.5 million
skilled workers were lacking in Germany, above all in the health,
social welfare and MINT professions (mathematics, information
technology, natural science and technology).
The Federal Government's concept envisages a total of five
methods for securing the basis of skilled workers in Germany:
activation and job safety,
better reconcilability of work and family,
educational opportunities for all from the outset,
qualification: training and further education,
integration and qualified immigration.
Each of the individual five methods entails measures with short,
medium and long-term effects which will in some cases have
considerable consequences for enterprises. With this concept the
Federal Government has announced a whole range of legislative
proposals. For example, in order to "maintain the ability to
work" the employment protection provisions will be examined
and modified to ensure work that is adapted to age and ageing. This
is a consequence of the demographic development. Some laws that
have already entered into are now being brought under the cloak of
this "concept". One example hereof is the German Act on
the Promotion and Care of Children in Daycare Facilities
dated 16 December 2008. With the claim to childcare anchored
therein, this now aims to reconcile work and family.
Besides the "Act for Improving the Establishment and
Recognition of Professional Qualifications Acquired Abroad"
(Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Feststellung und Anerkennung im
Ausland erworbener Berufsqualifikationen) (so-called
Recognition Act ("Anerkennungsgesetz")) which
was brought into the legislative process, the topic of immigration
is above all also of interest to enterprises through the extension
of the blue-card regulation on the employment of highly-qualified
workers. The aim of the Recognition Act is to remove the barriers
existing to date in many professions which linked the exercise and
recognition of these professions to German nationality or
citizenship of an EU Member State. However, as the
Bundesrat submitted more than 100 amendment proposals
herefor in May, we do not expect the law to be finalised before the
Bundestag breaks for the summer.
In contrast, the so-called priority check
(Vorrangprüfung) conducted for mechanical and vehicle
construction engineers, electrical engineers and for doctors is
being cancelled with immediate effect and thus access by foreigners
from non-EU states facilitated. The so-called priority check meant
that, before a vacancy could be filled, the Employment Agency
(Agentur für Arbeit) always had to check whether an
unemployed German or EU citizen could fill this vacancy. The
cancellation of the priority check will facilitate the granting of
the residence permits which includes the work permit as an annex
for the aforesaid professions.
Along with the cancellation of the priority check, presently
under discussion is whether or not the previously existing income
threshold of 66,000 euro gross annual income for the employment of
highly skilled workers should be reduced further. The so-called
"blue-card" Directive of the EU (Council Directive
2009/50/EG), which has not yet been implemented in Germany, only
demands that national law contains an income threshold without
actually stipulating its amount, however.
The expansion of the blue-card regulation will lead to further
internationalisation for many enterprises. For example, in future,
enterprises will be able to extend their personnel recruiting to
further professionals – other than is the case to date
– globally, including foreigners not from EU states.
International groups will additionally have better possibilities,
particularly within the scope of personnel development programmes,
of deploying employees from non-EU states in Germany, to the extent
such employees exercise one of the said professions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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