Monday, January 7, 2013

Germany Struggling With New Blue Card Law

Schloss Schwerin
Schwerin Castle, Germany
Photo by Harald Hoyer
Back in May I reported about the new German Blue Card law. It's an astonishingly forward thinking law designed to let businesses attract the workers they need. Basically, get a job offer for enough money and you can move to Germany and be an expat (read my five part "get a work permit" series if you want to know how to get that job offer). However, there's a recent report that the German Blue Card has not attracted many skilled workers.


From the article:
Die im Sommer eingeführte "Blue Card" hat bislang kaum ausländische Fachkräfte nach Deutschland angelockt. In den ersten zwei Monaten wurden lediglich 139 Blue Cards vergeben, wie die Welt am Sonntag unter Berufung auf Daten des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge berichtete. 
Davon gingen 112 an Ausländer, die bereits vor 2012 nach Deutschland eingereist waren. "Der Massenansturm von Fachkräften bleibt aus", sagte laut dem Bericht Gunilla Fincke, Geschäftsführerin des Sachverständigenrates deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration. Deutschland hänge nach wie vor der Ruf an, Zuwanderer seien nicht willkommen, obwohl das Zuwanderungsrecht liberaler geworden sei.
In English (and trying to smooth out the rough edges of Google translate):
The launch of the "Blue Card" in the summer has not attracted many foreign workers to Germany. Only 139 Blue cards were issued in the first two months, citing data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. 
Of the issued cards, 112 were awarded to foreigners who had already entered Germany before 2012. "The massive influx of skilled workers is waiting," reported Gunilla Fincke, director of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration. Germany still has the reputation of immigrants not being welcome, even though the immigration legislation has become more liberal.
I can actually think of a few different issues causing the problem. First and foremost, it was reported after the law had been in effect only two months! I'm surprised that a brand new program taking time to get started is actually newsworthy, particularly when you consider that it can take months to find a new employee locally, much less internationally.

More interesting to me, though, is the person who emailed me complaining that the German Labor office told them to apply for a Blue Card but the Immigration office denied them a chance to even apply for the German Blue Card because they didn't have a residency permit! That's completely contrary to my reading of the German Blue Card law. How can the Germans expect to have people to navigate the waters of German Immigration law if the German Immigration officials don't know the law?
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