Germany Emerges as Popular Destination for Foreign Workers

Germany Emerges as Popular Destination for Foreign Workers

Germany has become a magnet for international talent, with a record 419,000 foreigners holding temporary work permits at the end of 2023.

This was a significant jump from 2007 when there were only 76,800 foreigners authorized to work in the country.

The German Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, reported that the number of non-European Union (EU) workers has been rising since 2010, especially in 2022 and 2023, despite the pandemic.

EU Blue Card holders and skilled workers dominate foreign workforce

A significant chunk of foreign workers in Germany hold EU Blue Cards. By the end of 2023, there were 113,000 holders, making up over a quarter of all foreign workers.

The EU Blue Card is given to highly qualified non-EU workers who have university degrees and job offers with a minimum salary.

India, Russia, and Türkiye are the top countries where these Blue Card holders come from.

Apart from Blue Card holders, Germany also gave out many permits to skilled workers in 2023.

By the end of the year, about 49,000 skilled workers with university degrees had residence permits for jobs.

There was also a 22% increase in workers from the Western Balkans, with Kosovo having the largest group of workers.

Germany ranks fifth most popular destination for foreign workers

According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, Stepstone, and The Network, Germany is the fifth most popular country for foreign workers to move to. The country ranked behind Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. 

Among countries where English is not the main language, Germany comes out on top. Berlin, the capital city, is the sixth most desired city for international workers.

The study emphasized that attractive job opportunities and a strong job market are the main reasons foreign workers choose a particular country or city.

For 74% of those surveyed, the quality of jobs was the main factor in picking Germany, while factors like the healthcare system mattered less.

Many workers, about 77%, also expect help with the immigration process, hoping that employers will provide support with moving and getting work permits.

Germany to launch opportunity card for skilled job seekers

To make it easier for skilled workers to come to Germany, a new ‘opportunity card’ will be introduced in June 2024.

This card will allow qualified job seekers to stay in Germany and search for work without needing a permanent job offer.

Those with recognized qualifications from abroad and those considered ‘skilled workers’ can get this card without any extra conditions.

Other applicants need to show proof of a foreign university degree or a vocational qualification that lasted at least two years, along with basic knowledge of German (level A1 CEFR) or English (level B2 CEFR).

Points will be given based on factors like qualifications, language skills, work experience, age, and connections to Germany. Applicants need at least six points to get the opportunity card.

This card will be valid for up to one year, allowing holders to support themselves while in Germany. It allows for job trials and part-time work of up to 20 hours a week.

If the cardholder finds a qualifying job but cannot get another residence permit, the opportunity card can be extended for two more years.

Germany’s bright future as a global talent hub

Germany’s attractiveness as a destination for foreign workers is clear from the record number of work permits issued in 2023 and its ranking as the fifth most popular country for international talent.

The introduction of the opportunity card in June 2024 is set to further streamline the process for skilled job seekers looking to build a career in Germany.

With Germany’s ongoing efforts to bring in talent from around the world, it is likely to remain a top spot for foreign workers in the future.