German Minister slams country’s ‘strict’ immigration authorities: Report

Berlin: Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said that the country’s immigration authorities may be too hostile to foreigners at a time when more skilled workers are required to plug the looming labour shortage.

Habeck said at a recent conference in Berlin that his “greatest concern” is that immigration and visa authorities have not yet switched to the new system, the euractiv news website reported on Wednesday.

“Previously, Germany had set up administrative structures that were hostile towards workers from abroad who were perceived as strangers,” Habeck said, adding, “now we have to state clearly: now we want them, (…) please approve it”,

Germany is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers, making the country’s aging population dependent on immigration.

According to the Institute for Employment Research, the shortage could reach 7 million workers by 2035 unless sufficient counter-measures were taken.

While Germany needs migrants to tackle labour shortages, a recent surge in irregular migration has been difficult for the country to handle with several migrants, especially from Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey, seeking shelter in the country.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday agreed to a stricter migration policy and said the measures would help speed up asylum procedures, restrict social benefits for migrants, and provide more federal funding for local communities.

Habeck, however, said that Germany should also embrace the potential of irregular migrants, as it could hardly afford to be picky or ideologically driven, euractiv reported.

“We need all of (those who have proved themselves),” Habeck said.

In July this year, the German government gave its final approval to a law that will make it easier for skilled workers from outside the EU to move to Germany.

Expected to come into force in three steps in November 2023, March 2024 and June 2024, it could increase the number of non-EU workers in Germany by 60,000 per year.

In 2022, Indians were issued the highest number of work visas by Germany.

Of a total of 152,336 national work visas issued to foreigners, Indians were granted a total of 17,379 work visas last year.

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