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Germany – Work visas discriminate against staffing firms

19 February 2013

Germany’s federal employment agency reported a “dramatic” skills shortage within the elderly care sector, with employers calling for increasing the level of qualified immigrants to meet demand. But the German staffing industry criticised that legal hurdles prevent some foreign workers from entering the country.

The association of private providers of social services (bpa) estimates that around 50,000 qualified elderly care workers are needed to meet current demand in the country. Getting in more foreign workers could help tackle the skills shortage, the organisation said.

But the German association of temporary employment agencies (iGZ) said that staffing firms are discriminated against and prevented from hiring non-EU workers. “Demand for carers in Germany is high,” said Werner Stolz of the iGZ. “It would be negligent to continue excluding temporary staffing from this profession.”

German law stops staffing firms from employing non-EU workers who are unable to obtain a work visa if their employer is a staffing company. “This discrimination violates the equal treatment principle,” said Mr Stolz. He said that temporary agency jobs are no different to other jobs with this showing that the positive “labour market effects” of staffing companies are overlooked in this sector. 

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