Claiming Germany Has 1.6M Vacant Jobs, Merkel Set to Open Border to Non-EU Workers

Germany
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VIRGINIA HALE

Claiming there are more than a million vacant jobs in Germany, Angela Merkel’s government is set to slash immigration restrictions so non-EU migrants can be shipped in to fill roles in vocational careers.

After years of calls for reform, largely from corporations, business associations, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the nation’s interior ministry revealed a paper of key points agreed by ministers and all three parties in the grand coalition.

Hailing the plans, under which big business would find it much easier to import workers, the newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has finally relented to reform after “resisting the creation of new immigration laws for 20 years”.

“In fact, the CDU and CSU had long resisted seeing Germany as a nation of immigrants,” the newspaper criticised, lamenting that the centre-right parties’ reluctance to craft fresh border control policies with corporate input meant that migrants were forced to migrate illegally “in order to gain any prospect of residing” in the EU nation.

“The result of this was overburdened authorities, a backlog of paperwork and years of uncertainty for refugees and for businesses desperately seeking staff. In short: chaos and frustration,” according to Handelsblatt, which said new laws should be in place by Christmas.

Geared less towards graduates — who are already favoured under current rules — the draft system would make it much easier to import non-European individuals who have gone through vocational training, according to local media.

Under the drafted plans, the government would scrap what companies believe are the biggest “hurdles” for overseas recruitment including the requirement that German job seekers are given preference above overseas labour, and that they may only hire people in professions the government says are in short supply.

While Eurostat figures show there are almost six million Europeans aged 16 to 25 looking for jobs, as parts of southern Europe continue to suffer crippling youth unemployment rates, Britain’s Financial Times declared recruiting non-EU migrants an“obvious” solution to a “lack of skilled labour … so pervasive that it is inflicting serious damage on the German economy”.

“You cannot believe how hard it is to find people,” said freight company boss Herbert Striebich, who told the newspaper his business needs at least six warehouse workers and five truck drivers.

According to Euractiv Germany, plans for reform have been welcomed by economists and employers, with Federal Association of small and medium-sized business president Hermann Sturm stating: “We are very pleased that the government parties now finally want to create a reasonable immigration law, which SMEs have long been demanding”.

“In the competition for qualified employees or junior staff, small and medium-sized companies almost always have the disadvantage compared to large companies,” he told the Brussels-based media outlet.

The German Greens responded with glee to plans to prise open the border, believing it marks the death of conservatives’ “dogged and stubborn” belief that Germany is not, in fact, a so-called ‘nation of immigrants’ in the same vein as the U.S, reported Deutsche Welle.

The public broadcaster noted that trade unions were more reserved about the news, however, along with the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which warned more migration from the third world is sure to put strain on the country’s public services.

Speaking for AfD, Alice Weidel remarked: “Plans to abolish the requirement that companies must give German workers priority [before they are allowed to bring in foreign labour] would act as a licence for wage dumping, allowing additional competition into the labour market.”

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