Germany - July 2023
Parliament passes immigration law to attract skilled labour
In a major shift in Germany’s policy, the parliament passed a new immigration law that creates opportunities for non-EU citizens wishing to work in Germany, as well as for refugees already in the country. Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house, gave the final approval in July. The legislation aims at attracting skilled labour in order to target the current shortage deemed as slowing the economy’s growth by turning Germany into a more immigration-friendly country. The law reduces restrictions and bureaucratic bottlenecks for applicants, lowering eligibility criteria for Blue Card work visas, and introducing the “opportunity card” (Canada-style points-based system) that will be awarded to applicants who meet certain requirements to go to Germany for a year to find employment. Refugees who applied for asylum by 29 March, as well as those on a tourist visa will also be allowed to join the labour market under specific conditions. All three coalition parties voted for the legislation. The centre-right CDU/CSU parties and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) voted against, while the left-leaning Linke abstained.