German companies have warned the country’s government that without increased immigration of workers from the Western Balkans, they will not be able to find suitable employees in the future.
Hermann Schulte-Hiltrop, chairman of the construction branch of the German Employers’ Association, pointed out that 150,000 construction workers will retire in the coming years and that it will be increasingly difficult to find suitably educated and trained workers locally.
Although employers welcomed the new changes to the immigration rules for the Western Balkan citizens, which will allow the extension of the validity of work visas for unskilled workers, they criticised the fact that the maximum quota of 25,000 workers per year has been set.
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“If we lose 50,000 workers a year, the situation will get worse. From 2021, we will have a complete breakdown in some areas such as residential construction. It is commendable that a new law has been drafted, but we don’t understand why that number is limited to 25,000 workers. These are jobs for which it is impossible to find skilled workers here,” said Hiltrop.
Fears that workers from the Western Balkans would burden the German social system or take jobs from Germans are not justified, as a study by the German Ministry of Labour has shown that there are no negative consequences in applying the new immigration rules, which would only benefit the economy.
Contrary to the popular belief that the pandemic would reduce the need for workers from abroad, the Handelsblatt daily writes that German employers complain about the lack of workers from the Balkans, and that it is impossible to bring them over, to Germany, because of the epidemiological restrictions.
Handelsblatt also writes that the construction industry, healthcare and software development industry are in the most critical condition.
The newspaper also estimates that, from 2009 to date, up to one third of Germany’s gross domestic product has been generated by imported labour.
This post is also available in: Italiano