Germany to ease recognition of foreign qualifications

23rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany's cabinet Wednesday adopted draft legislation to ease the path of foreign employees into the workforce, as Europe's top economy battles an acute skills shortage.

Under the new law, overseas professional qualifications will be recognised more quickly in Germany, a step Berlin hopes will immediately improve the career prospects of 300,000 immigrant workers.

The law "will give immigrants the chance to carry out their profession," said Education Minister Annette Schavan.

The legislation would enable foreign workers to obtain a German equivalent of their qualifications within three months.

Currently, workers who have obtained qualifications abroad have to pass a series of practical and theoretical tests as well as undergo interviews and evaluations.

The move aims to "make the country more attractive for foreign workers," the minister added.

With unemployment relatively low at 7.3 percent and a rapidly ageing population, employers in Germany complain it is extremely difficult to find qualified workers, especially scientists and engineers.

According to the head of the German chamber of commerce and industry, Hans Heinrich Driftmann, Germany is in urgent need of about 400,000 engineers and qualified workers.

The cabinet's decision came amid an ongoing debate in Europe's most populous country about immigrants after Chancellor Angela Merkel said that multiculturalism without better integration "had failed totally."

The draft legislation will need to be cleared in parliament before becoming law.

© 2011 AFP

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