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Germany Warns Against Radical Visa Reforms: We Will Invert the Procedures

Germany is not planning to abandon its efforts to improve the country's and society's immigration system, as Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock have announced additional visa reforms in order to bring in more foreign workers and fill labour shortages in key sectors in Germany.

The Chancellor and the Minister both announced that the country will continue to improve visa rules, particularly for skilled workers, during a visit to the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs on January 17, 2023.

Chancellor Scholz stressed the importance of foreign skilled workers for Germany and its economy during a joint press conference following the meeting, saying that the country can only guarantee its future if there are enough talented workers to fill labour shortages.

“It’s not that difficult [to bring workers] from the European Union, because there is freedom of movement. In terms of the rest of the world, that’s a bigger challenge,” he noted.

Minister Baerbock, on the other hand, stated that Germany, as a modern immigration country, requires a more modern and unbureaucratic residence law and visa procedures. The Minister has branded the country's existing immigration system "old-century".

“That is why it is so important that with our decision as the federal government to bring our residence law up to date in terms of immigration of skilled workers, we also have to bring the visa procedure up to date,” she said, adding that in order to do so, the visa procedures should be turned upside down.

She also emphasised that Germany is trying to retain its position as the world's most skilled workforce, and that in order to do so, a welcoming immigration system is needed. As a result, she stated that the country must have specialised personnel on hand to expedite the procedures.

The Minister also mentioned some of the occupations for which Germany requires foreign workers, such as IT specialists, cooks, nurses, and individuals working in the health sector.

In recent years, German officials have been working tirelessly to modernise the immigration system in order to meet the country's long-standing labour shortages, many of which are in critical areas.

The Right to Residence and other regulations making it simpler for foreigners in Germany to make their stay lawful, transfer to the nation, or seek permanent residency went effective on January 1, 2023.

The new rule will allow around 140,000 immigrants who have been in Germany under a tolerated status to complete the requirements for a residence card that will be good for a year and a half.

Since the same date, well-integrated people aged 27 and younger have been able to stay in Germany for three years rather than four.



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