New Visa Policy Could Make It Easier For Ghanaians To Work In Germany
Germany, facing a skilled worker shortfall of approximately two million people, has unveiled a new immigration law aimed at streamlining visa processes and creating opportunities for qualified foreign workers. The reform is expected to make it easier for persons outside the EU, including Ghanaians, to secure employment in Germany.
The proposed skilled labour immigration law, finalized by lawmakers from the ruling parties – the centre-left Social Democrats, the Greens, and the neoliberal Free Democrats – seeks to address Germany’s shortage of skilled workers. With an annual demand for up to 400,000 foreign workers, Germany is confronted with an impending challenge as the retiring baby boomers exacerbate the labor gap.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz acknowledged the pressing need for skilled workers in various sectors, including healthcare, IT, carpentry, and technology. The new bill aims to attract foreign talent by simplifying the immigration process and creating opportunities for individuals from countries outside the European Union, according to Deutsche Welle (DW) News, a German news platform.
One significant change proposed in the bill is the recognition of foreign degrees. Previously, obtaining recognition for degrees from Germany posed a lengthy and cumbersome process for immigrants. However, under the new legislation, skilled immigrants would no longer require degree recognition if they can demonstrate a minimum of two years of professional experience and possess a degree recognized by their country of origin.
The Skilled Workers Act, a part of the proposed bill, introduces a new opportunity for foreigners who already have a job offer in Germany. They can start working while their degree is in the process of being recognized. It’s important to note that this provision applies to skilled workers above a certain salary threshold.
For foreign job seekers without an existing employment contract, the bill introduces the “opportunity card” system. This allows individuals with vocational qualifications or university degrees to enter Germany and have one year to find employment. The opportunity card is based on a point system that considers language skills in German and/or English, existing ties to Germany, and the potential for family members to join the German labor market. The card enables individuals to engage in part-time work of up to 20 hours per week while searching for suitable employment.
Additionally, individuals who have applied for asylum and meet the necessary qualifications, as well as tourists holding a visa, will have the opportunity to enter the labor market without the need to leave the country first.
Germany’s new visa policy aligns with similar efforts by countries such as Ireland, Canada, and the UK, all striving to attract skilled workers in the face of a global shortage. While South Africa also faces a skills shortage, local factors such as load shedding, crime, and unfavorable government policies have led to a talent drain from the country. The new German visa policy may provide an enticing opportunity for Ghanaians seeking to utilize their skills in Germany.
As the global workforce becomes increasingly interconnected, it is crucial for countries to adapt their immigration policies to attract and retain skilled workers who can contribute to their economies. Germany’s proactive approach to reforming its visa policy demonstrates a commitment to addressing its labor shortage while providing new opportunities for foreign talent, including Ghanaians seeking employment abroad.