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Germany – Medium skilled migrant workers lose out

05 February 2013

Germany is one of the OECD countries with the lowest barriers to immigration for high-skilled workers, but long-term labour migration is low in comparison with other nations, according to a new report by the OECD.

This found that the number of immigrant workers from outside the EU and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) is 25,000 a year, or 0.02% of the population. In Australia, Denmark, Canada and the United Kingdom, this figure is five to ten times higher. Unlike other countries, Germany does not restrict the number of high-skilled immigrants coming into the country each year.

The research indicates that German employers are reluctant to hire foreign workers with mid-level skills despite an increasing skills shortage. Graduates from abroad, on the other hand, have better chances of finding a job in the country.

But at the same time the German application system suffers from a bad reputation and although it is short and inexpensive, it could be one of the factors putting off prospective applicants. German language skills are also perceived as an obstacle as most companies demand good knowledge of German. The OECD suggests that more opportunities have to be created to attract talent for from abroad. 

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