Germany needs 400,000 immigrants a year, says jobs agency chief

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Munich, Aug. 24 (BNA): Germany needs some 400,000 skilled immigrants per year to make up for labour shortages, the head of the country’s jobs agency said in remarks published Tuesday.

“For me this is not about asylum, but about targeted immigration for the gaps in the labor market,” Detlef Scheele, head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

“From care and air conditioning to logisticians and academics – there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere,” he said, dpa reports.

He was dismissive of possible resistance to migration as a solution to labour issues.

“You can stand up and say: ‘We don’t want foreigners.’ But that doesn’t work,” Scheele said. “The fact is Germany is running out of workers.”

Due to demographic developments, the number of potential workers of typical professional age will decrease by almost 150,000 this year, according to the jobs agency chief. “It will be much more dramatic in the next few years.”

“Germany can only solve the problem by qualifying unskilled workers and people whose jobs have been lost due to technical change, letting female involuntary part-time workers work longer – and above all by bringing immigrants into the country,” Scheele said.

Involuntary part-time workers are those who say they would prefer to work full time but can’t find full-time jobs.

Scheele called labour shortages a key issue that the next government must tackle after federal elections in Germany next month.


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