Germany is dependent on immigrants for rejuvenating its ageing population. How much they can contribute to maintaining the skilled workforce that German companies need and stabilizing public budgets will depend on how well they are integrated into the labour market.
There have been two major flows of immigration to Germany in recent years. The first is the arrival of workers from other EU member states as a result of the right to free movement within the Union. The many well-educated people this has brought into the country have been in a position quickly to gain a foothold in the German labour market. The second influx consisted of refugees from Syria and other countries in the years 2015 and 2016. Germany is still in the process of integrating these new-arrivals into the labour market. A major challenge is that many refugees have few skills or qualifications. It will take some years for them to become part of the skilled workforce that German companies need.
Given that the number of potential migrants from the European Union is likely to fall as the societies of other member states also age, Germany should make it easier for skilled workers from non-EU countries to settle here. There is a particular need for an updated immigration law to establish clear conditions for immigration from third countries. This should include allowing access to those without a specific job offer whose qualifications nonetheless mean that they have good prospects of finding work. In addition, it should be made simpler for the education and training that immigrants received in their home country to be recognized here so that the qualifications they bring with them retain their value.