Sunday, March 11, 2007

GERMANY - Industry pro immigration

Hamburg – According to a report of the “Bild am Sonntag”, the German industry has increased its pressure on the federal government to ease the restrictions of immigration law in order to facilitate the establishment of a higher number of foreign skilled labour in Germany. By its own account, the newspaper allegedly was submitted with a letter written by the President of the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Ludwig Georg Braun, and addressed to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. Michael Glos (CSU). Therein they say, he would be asking Mr. Glos to plead for an easement of the restrictions for the immigration of qualified foreigners. According to Mr. Braun, for foreign career starters providing qualified graduation an annual minimum salary of € 40,000 shall be sufficient in order to receive a permanent residence permit. Presently, this limit is fixed at € 85,500. From Mr. Brown’s point of view this hurdle is too high for smaller and medium-sized companies. According to him foreigners who want to establish an enterprise in Germany shall only invest € 500,000 and create 5 jobs. At the moment the requirements are twice as much.

The German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce expects an economic growth of 2.3 percent and - taking the annual average - 0.5 million less unemployed than in 2006. Indeed, in February the number of unemployed has dropped by 826,000 which is biggest decline since 1949. According to the “Bild am Sonntag”, what Brown writes in this letter is that the lack of labour will get remarkably worse already in the near future. Indeed, there already is a deficiency of approx. 20,000 specialists in the sector of information technology. Up to now, this deficiency in foreign labour cannot be remedied: In 2005, 900 top executives from non-European Union countries came to Germany; during the first three months of the past year there were 140.

Source: dpa, translated by MKRG

Friday, March 2, 2007

GERMANY - Germany benefits from transitional regulations for introducing freedom of movement for workers from Bulgaria and Romania

As to Germany’s recourse to transitional regulations on the free movement of workers, which will initially be in force during the time from 1 January 2007 till 31 December 2008, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs stated as follows:

In February, the Federal Cabinet decided – upon the suggestion of the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Franz Müntefering - that the Federal Government will inform the EU Commission about its intention to make use of transitional arrangements on the freedom of movement for workers from Bulgaria and Romania, as a start for the period of two years, i.e. from 1 January 2007 till 31 December 2008. Moreover, sending workers abroad in order to perform cross-border services in the fields of construction, industrial cleaning and interior decoration at first will also be restricted by the end of 2008.

For Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession to the European Union, the legislator has already taken the required domestic measures by means of the law on the adjustment of statutory provisions of the Federal Republic as from December 7, 2006. By now, it is secured by the Cabinet’s resolution that Germany’s decision will also be effective at the European level.

Indeed, in the current year, Germany has been very successful on the labour market. Nevertheless, the Federal Government wants to reduce the unemployment to a greater extent. The accession rate of employees from Romania and Bulgaria therefore must be controlled continuously. As a result of the decision of the Federal Government, Bulgarian and Romanian citizen are treated equally in comparison to the member states that joined the EU on Mai 1, 2004 (exempt from: Malta and Cyprus which already enjoy free movement of workers). For the citizen of all of these countries applies: The controlled and limited admission of employees to the German labour market remains possible. The domestic law, in particular the immigration law and bilateral agreements, accordingly provide for admission possibilities.

According to the Treaty of Accession as of April 25, 2005 which was concluded between the EU on the one hand and Bulgaria and Romania on the other hand the former member states may impose restrictions on the free movement of workers during a period of 7 years at most (so called 2+3+2 system). Germany and Austria, moreover, are entitled to impose restrictions on the dispatch of workers for cross-border services in certain economic sectors, as long as the free movement of workers is restricted.

For further information on the transitional regulations on the free movement of workers from the EU accession states please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (, select the rubric “Arbeitsmarkt” and click on “Ausländerbeschäftigung”.

Source: Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, translated by MKRG