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Old 15.04.2011, 20:31
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AmericanGotWorkVisa has slipped a little
German and EU labor/Immigration issues

I thought this was interesting...

It was just a decade ago, after years of
denial, that Germans began to recognize
that Germany was an “immigration country.”
Legislation passed in 2000 opened
the way to citizenship for the children
of the Gastarbeiter. In 2001, a commission
led by former Bundestag President Rita
Süssmuth underlined the need to recruit
immigrant workers and do more to integrate
those foreigners already in Germany.
A second law, which went into effect in
2005, established a national o⁄ce of
immigration and integration and created
several new types of visas for labor immigrants.
It also made government “integration
courses,” including 600 hours of
instruction in German, available to all
newcomers. By the end of the decade, a
vast national network of service providers
had emerged to administer these courses
and other services—at a cost of some
140 million euros ($186 million) a year.
(The U.S. government, in comparison,
spent $18 million last year to facilitate
The Süssmuth commission made the
recruitment of a highly skilled work force
the centerpiece of its proposal to overhaul
the immigration system. Already in
2001, in Germany and around the world,
advances in communications and transportation
were eroding the walls that
once defined national labor markets, and
governments were starting to grasp that
they were in a race for workplace talent.
Just as in the nineteenth century, when
powerful states fought one another for
territory and natural resources, now they
were competing for brain power: the
scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and
high-end business managers who fuel the
dynamism of the international economy.
The global race for skilled workers raged
through the economic boom years of the
past decade. As many saw it, Australia
and Canada had the most appealing and
effective immigration policies: both rely
on point systems to draw international
talent, selecting for immigrants with
language skills and higher-than-average
educational levels. Other countries soon
made their own efforts to attract the highly
qualified. Between 1998 and 2000, the
United States more than doubled its quota
for skilled workers admitted on temporary
h-1b visas. In 2001, Germany made an
exception to its 1973 ban on labor immigration,
introducing a much-heralded
Green Card to attract information technology
(it) professionals. France, Ireland,
the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom
soon developed similar initiatives. And
in 2007, the European Union announced
its ambitious supranational version of
outreach to global talent: the Blue Card,
designed to lure workers by, among other
things, making it easier for them to move
from job to job on the continent. (Eu member states must incorporate Blue
Card requirements in domestic legislation
by June 2011.)

But Germany’s eŞort to attract the
best and brightest has not worked out as
planned. In some cases, policymakers got
cold feet; in others, initiatives failed to
produce the expected results. The Green
Card attracted far fewer it specialists than
anticipated—less than 16,000 over three
years. A push to create a German point
system was derailed in 2004. The landmark
immigration law that went into effect in
2005 created several new employment based
visas for highly qualified scientists,
engineers, health professionals, university
teachers, and managers (amendments
passed in the years since have made entry
easier for international students and investors).
But the response has been underwhelming.
Only a few hundred immigrants
take up Germany’s oŞer of permanent
residence each year: in 2009, just 169 did.
Another few thousand knowledge workers
enter annually on temporary visas.
University students find Germany more
attractive: 60,000 are now arriving each
year. But at the end of their studies, only
some 6,000 of them choose to stay. And
indeed, for several years now, more people
have left Germany than have entered the
country with an eye toward settling there.
Many Sarrazin supporters are undoubtedly
heartened by such news, but the truth
is that the German economy is booming—
according to estimates, it expanded by
3.7 percent in 2010—and the skilledworker
shortage poses a serious threat to
continued growth. According to one recent
survey, by the Association of German
Chambers of Industry and Commerce,
70 percent of German companies are having
trouble finding master artisans,
technicians, and other skilled laborers.
The Association of German Engineers
reports that there are 36,000 unfilled
engineering positions across the country,
and an association of it companies estimates
that there are 43,000 openings in
the information field. The labor problem is
particularly acute among the smaller, often
rural manufacturing companies known as
the Mittelstand, which sustain Germany’s
exporting prowess and provide 70 percent
of its private-sector jobs. According to
an estimate by the German Institute for
Economic Research, the skilled-worker
shortage is costing the country 15 billion
euros ($20 billion) a year. If the problem
is left unattended, these numbers are only
going to get worse: the German fertility
rate has fallen to a startling 1.38 children
per woman, and the existing work force is
aging rapidly—by 2020, the carmaker
Daimler expects that more than half its
workers will be over 50 years old.

The German public is divided over how
to address this skilled-labor shortage.
Business advocates bristle with urgency
and, at times, disbelief over the country’s
seeming lack of interest in attracting
needed foreign workers. Even the broader
public, so entranced by Sarrazin, seems
to recognize that something is amiss:
stories about able and attractive foreigners
leaving Germany are a staple in the media,
including on a Sunday reality television
show, Goodbye Deutschland! Die Auswanderer
(Goodbye Germany! The Emigrants)...

Germany’s existing admissions
policy, which like the U.S. system is dependent
on a job offer from an employer,
with a point system modeled on the
Canadian approach. In Germany, business
groups generally favor a points-based
policy: they believe it would signal that the country is open for business and doing all
it can to attract the best and brightest.
(Employers in the United States strongly
oppose a point system, preferring a policy
that allows them to choose and sponsor
individual employees.) As it is now, the German visa process is
notoriously cumbersome. Employers and
immigrants alike complain about official
nitpicking, long waits, and prolonged negotiations
with authorities. Unfortunately,
most of the changes under consideration
in Berlin are small steps, and the governing
coalition keeps putting off a decision.

Does anyone know anything about the Blue Cards?

I did my own calculation concerning work visas. I compared the U.S and Switzerland, since I'm more familiar with those economies than the other nations mentioned:

Switzerland has 1800 person quota for B work visas right now.

America has 65,000 H1-B (equivalent to B visas in Switzerland), and if you have Master's degree it is 20,000 additional.




309 million


7.8 million

So Switzerland has 2.5%% of America's population (damn that's tiny), then again Switzerland is smaller than my state (Virginia) in land area and population, so...

Anyway, if you calculate it, the U.S. gives out work visas (this does not include very highly skilled executives, etc, that is another visa) equal to 0.027% of its population.

Switzerland does so for .023%.

If Switzerland had American levels, it should have about 2,140 B-visas. That's not a huge difference.

Still, Switzerland is not bad, not really. One big issue is that you already have so many foreigners as a % of their population, not because Switzerland lets in more people, they let in less, the issue is that it is far easier to get U.S. citizenship (and more people who come here want to be citizens)...many of your foreigners will never change citizenship (many don't want to). Also consider that the U.S. has a huge illegal immigration problems in the 10's of millions, as well as more refugees per year per capita, but we still have "less foreigners" mainly because the children of foreigners born in the U.S. are automatically citizens (even if you are an illegal immigrant).

I'm not making a value judgement on this, simply stating facts.

What I found interesting is how all these nations are trying to compete in the global market. Switzerland, despite the visas, is still having a shortage of IT workers, Germany is far worse.

My take is this:

The Swiss situation is similar to the German situation, but GERMANY IS FAR WORSE.

1)The German salaries are not very great in my experience looking for work there (although the country is cheaper, you have less disposable income)

2) There are far less jobs that are "English-only" and few people in the world speak German or want to learn it. So you cut off a huge bit of your foreign labor pool just due to language issues.

I would bet money more people would go to the UK, Canada, or even the Netherlands (where almost every speaks English) than Germany, even if salaries were similar.

3) Authorities make the process draconian, cumbersome, etc. as explained in the article, and Germany already has less appeal, so you just adding an unnecessary negative.

Switzerland has somewhat of a language issue, but there are far more jobs advertised that only require English (I know, I was looking for them, and I got one of them). Also people WANT to live in Switzerland, it is a "sexy" country compared to Germany for a lot of reasons.

I don't see the German situation changing, maybe with more immigrants from the EU-8 coming in from Eastern Europe, some I'm sure speak pretty good German, this situation might be helped.

Also, despite having a visa now, my personal opinion has not changed. It makes far more sense to me to have a Canadian/Australian system, and do work visa quotas by sector/industry instead of a blanket system. This will stop the labor shortages in certain areas, but prevent some areas from being swamped with low wage immigrants, etc. It just seems more intelligent to take a surgical knife to the situation instead of an axe. In this way I think America and Switzerland could both reform.

Last edited by AmericanGotWorkVisa; 15.04.2011 at 20:55. Reason: math was off
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