Germany to introduce ‘green card’ to bolster workforce

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Germany is planning to announce an immigration overhaul soon, to make it easier for foreigners to relocate and work in the country.

Along with plans to make the citizenship process easier, Germany is also working on a new points-based immigration system that would allow migrants to come to Germany even without a confirmed job offer.

Industry associations have been complaining for some time, and the Labor Ministry has suggested the shortfall is slowing economic growth.

The new “opportunity card,” presented by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil in the German media this week, will offer foreign nationals the chance to come to Germany to look for work even without a job offer, as long as they fulfill at least three of these four criteria:

1) A university degree or professional qualification

2) Professional experience of at least three years

3) Language skill or previous residence in Germany

4) Aged under 35

The criteria are not unlike those used in Canada’s points system, though that uses a more complex weight system. And there will be limits and conditions, the minister from the center-left Social Democrats (SPD)  emphasized in media interviews this week. The number of cards will be limited by the German government on a year-by-year basis, according to demand on the labor market, he explained.

“This is about qualified immigration, an unbureaucratic process, and that’s why it’s important that we say that those who have the opportunity card can earn a living while they are here,” Heil told the WDR public radio station on Wednesday.

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