Germany’s attempt to attract foreign professionals a failure

HRM 20 Nov 2012

A scheme that aims to attract professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) into Germany has flopped, attracting just 139 people since August, a local newspaper reported.

According to the Welt am Sonntag, the response by skilled talent outside the European Union has been less than enthusiastic. This is partly due to the country’s image as overly bureaucratic and unwelcoming to foreigners.

Since Aug 1, qualified foreign professionals from non-EU countries can apply for a Blue Card if they have a job offer that will see them earn a salary of 44,800 euros (US$57,129) or more.

If the applicant works in a field that has a registered lack of skilled labour, the minimum salary is lower, at 34,944 euros (US$44,560).

The policy also lifted some work restrictions for foreign students, and granted them 18 months after they complete their studies to find a job in Germany, up from one year previously.

In the report, it quoted official figures which said that of the 139 who received “Blue Cards”, 112 went to foreigners living in Germany before 2012 and were already holding other work permits.

"The mass influx of skilled labour has not materialised," said the managing director of a board of experts from German foundations on integration and migration, Gunilla Fincke.

"Germany is seen as unattractive and is also challenging because of the language," she was quoted as saying.

She said that Germany has an international reputation as unwelcoming to newcomers even though it had liberalised its immigration laws over the last several years.

Experts say that the country is not doing a good enough job at promoting itself as an attractive place to work and study.

The president of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, also said that the Blue Card had failed to eliminate key hurdles for sought-after foreign professionals.

"German immigration law is still complicated and not very transparent for foreign skilled employees," he told Welt am Sonntag, a complaint frequently heard from German leaders.

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