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German leader appeals to int’l graduates

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said international graduates of Germany’s higher education system will help to “successfully” develop the country’s economy.

Scholz visited Gisma University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam in August. Photo: Gisma

The government says the Skilled Immigration Act will creates new opportunities to enter Germany

Speaking at Gisma University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Scholz said it was “inspiring to see how many students from around the world come to Germany and wish to work here afterwards”.

“We need these young and well-qualified men and women for the successful economic development of our country,” he said.

The visit to the GUS-owned institution allowed the chancellor to discuss challenges international professionals face in Germany with students.

The language barrier deters many international professionals from building a life in Germany, and the EU member state is facing skill and talent shortages.

The Institute for Employment Research found that there were 1.74 million vacant positions throughout Germany in 2022. Earlier this year, Germany’s parliament passed a bill to attract skilled migrant workers despite pressure from conservative groups.

The government says the Skilled Immigration Act will create new opportunities to enter Germany and also emphasises that changes will mean less bureaucracy in the future.

Degree-holders with two years of professional experience and professional qualifications obtained abroad will no longer have to have their certificates recognised in Germany before arriving to become skilled workers, for example.

Scholz previously said in March that the “modern immigration law” is at the forefront among global competition.

The newly-introduced points-based migration system is “a further step towards the modernisation of Germany, a further step towards ensuring economic growth for the future as well, and a further step towards overcoming decades of standstill”, the chancellor noted.

“German language skills should no longer be the top employment criterion”

President of Gisma University of Applied Sciences, Stefan Stein, said “as an international university”, Gisma offers “international solutions”.

“German language skills should no longer be the top employment criterion,” he said.

Under the new law, IT specialists will have German language skills proof waived, the government has said. Stakeholders have previously suggested that more English language courses would help to recruit more international students and help fill labour shortages.

Stein added that in a “modern globalised world, it’s outdated to reject a highly-qualified professional simply because they speak only English”.

The university president pointed to the German start-up scene, where teams are international, the English language used and German “seen as a ‘plus'”.

“On the other hand, traditional German companies, from SMEs to established conglomerates, are yet to acknowledge that labour migration is the only sustainable way to close the skill gap,” he added.

“Especially when German skills are not necessary to deliver exceptional work in areas like AI, software engineering, and data science.”

Stein also noted that surveys suggest “many foreign professionals don’t feel comfortable in Germany”, with many finding it challenging to settle and make friends.

“We must become more international as a society to tackle the skill shortage collectively. We simply can’t afford to lose the talented professionals we train in Germany to other countries,” he concluded.

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