There will be a new government in Germany. How will they change job opportunities for international professionals, visa and integration of immigrants?
I had a look at the “Ampel” coalition contract – a nonbinding agreement of the three new government parties about their shared goals for the next four years.
The new government acknowledges the need for immigration of skilled professionals. They plan to extend the “Blue Card” visa also to professions that do not require a university degree. Additionally, they want to create a second way to allow international jobseekers to come to Germany: A point-based visa modelled after the Canadian model from ten years ago. (I think the Canadians themselves have abandoned that system, but I am not sure.)
The Ampel wants to lower the requirements on education in order to attract more people to come to Germany. Still, you will need to already have a job offer with “market typical” salary in order to qualify for this visa.
The Ampel is planning to create a legal right to work from home office like in the Netherlands. Technically it is a “right to consultation” – i.e., you can ask your employer to work from home and the company can only refuse your request if they have a valid reason to do so. Interesting here is the last sentence in this paragraph of the coalition contract: “Mobile work should be possible EU wide without problems”. We will see what that means – but I could imagine a regulation that allows you to work a maximum of 182 days per year in other EU countries. That would be a major step forward. (Portugal here I come!)
This is a major shift for Germany. All three coalition parties vow to allow multiple citizenship. Which means that you will be able to become a German citizen after five years of legally living here – and retain your original citizenship(s). Exceptionally well-integrated immigrants can become citizens after only three years. There is also a clause that the coalition will “evaluate” if foreign citizenships can be retained over generations. This is a nod to my former party, the FDP, who unfortunately is tendering to xenophobic feelings here. Still: I can live with this formulation, because a limitation of citizenship rights would never pass our Supreme Court.
Many immigrants into Germany hope to bring their parents over to live with them and help to raise their children. Unfortunately, there is no legal route for non-EU citizens to do so, unless they are refugees. And there is no plan to change this.
So, what do I think about these changes? I have been involved in German and European politics for a long time. And I know most of the leading politicians of the smallest coalition party FDP personally. There are two things to consider:
“Papier ist geduldig” – “paper is patient“. Just because these goals are written down, doesn’t mean that they will become law in the next four years. The desires and needs of immigrants are valued super low in German politics. So low, that not even the youth organization of the Green party (another coalition member) listed “Multiple citizenship” in a list of their successes. (Even though millions of people who already live in Germany would benefit.)
There is very little pressure to actually implement these reforms – but considerable resistance from far-right politicians and citizens – both in the opposition and in the FDP. So, Multiple citizenship: Believe it, when you see it. (i.e. when it is really the law.)
Home office: Similar. It’s a very good proposal that would increase life quality for millions, make our economy more competitive and reduce carbon emissions drastically. (In 2020 we had 50% less traffic jams due to home office, according to Germany’s powerful automobile owners’ association ADAC.)
But again my former party FDP is opposed to give a legal right to home office to employees. In my experience they will try to sabotage this by postponing the discussion to “later”. (Read: never.)
Visa: This is something that all three parties actually want and it could happen relatively fast. Say in two years from now. (“Fast” has a different meaning in Germany than in most of the rest of the world.)
What else is happening in Germany?
As you might have read: German covid infection rates are now the highest in the world. 75% of our hospitals cannot keep up their regular services anymore. 30% of our nurses have left the profession since the last covid wave. And the new government… …hesitates. We are looking at another gloomy winter.
At the same time: Job ads are up 60% in comparison to last year. The pressure on German employers to find skilled professionals is increasing rapidly. So: There are more job opportunities than ever – if you can build the necessary trust with employers.
This is where I can help: Half of all seats for the Expats Job Offer by Summer 2022 are already gone.
I wish you success.
To leave you with two good news: If you drive an electric car in Germany, you can now earn 250 EUR per year by selling your CO2 certificate. Also: The last book of “The Expanse” is out! Take the chance to escape to a world where a virulent molecule is trying to kill everyone… (Oh, wait.)