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Blue Card: bait for skilled foreign workers?

With the introduction of the 'Blue Card,' German companies hope to attract skilled workers, for example from India. But the question is whether those workers are even interested.

If you ask Indian students where they imagine they will one day earn their bread - or in Hindi, rotis or chapattis - you'll get an array of answers:

"I would like to go to the US, it's a nice country."
"Australia!"
"London!"

One country that is not often named is Germany. But some people mention it.

"Germany is only good for girls," says one male student jokingly, adding that quality "Made in Germany" only applied to the opposite sex. German politicians will likely be willing to forgive this teenage bag of hormones for his comment, which wasn't entirely meant to be taken seriously.

A skilled Indian worker stands near a machine in Germany

Germany hopes to attract skilled Indian workers

But the comment shows that Europe doesn't seem to be all that important for Indians.

"I don't know much about Germany," said one student when asked if she would consider moving there to work.

Language and cultural barriers

The language barrier is definitely one problem; needless to say, young Indians feel more at home in English-speaking countries.

And some people even think racism is a problem. A case in point was the campaign "Kinder statt Inder" (children instead of Indians) that was promoted 12 years ago in the German state of North Rhein Westphalia. Unfortunately many people still remember it.

Indians, especially members of the middle class, have faith in the future of their country's economy.

One student summed it up: "I would like to stay in India. I think India offers enough opportunities. We won our independence; what sense does it make moving to other countries and serving them?"

Many students share the same opinion, despite the current slowdown in economic development. One student named Priya already has a well-paying job with an IT company in Hyderabad. She is one member of the demographic German companies are trying to attract.

"For me India is a better place to work. I have better opportunities here and I am also with my family. So I would prefer to work in India rather than abroad; my preference will always be India," she explains.

A bigloo, an igloo-like structure created with packed snow by artist Sean Connaughty, sits on the Walker Art Center field Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Walker will present free, 5-10 minute performances by Los Angeles-based collective Machine Project inside the bigloo over the weekend but the audience will be limited to one person at a time due to size limitations. (ddp images/AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Some Indians think Germany is too cold

Similar answers were common among many other people employed by the IT industry. So it's not like all Germany has to do is open its doors and qualified Indian workers will start pouring in. But it would also be wrong to give up all hope that skilled Indians will go there; some of them really are interested in Germany.

One student studying to become an engineer says he is a fan of the country. "The technology, first of all, is far better than French or British technology. I lived in Australia and England for three and a half years. I'm learning German. And I think these guys are far better."

Maybe the Blue Card will help make the German sky seem bluer than Indians think it is. Because that is also one aspect keeping the Indians away - some of them are convinced they would not survive the German weather.

Author: Kai Küstner, New Delhi / sb
Editor: Shamil Shams

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