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Business

Report: Germany Starts Initiative for Foreign Skilled Workers

The German government is reportedly taking first steps to encourage skilled workers in specific sectors to come to the country. Employers are expected to have a significant say in the matter.

A construction worker carries logs at a building site

Berlin wants to react more quickly if Germany's construction industry needs workers

According to a report in Berliner Zeitung on Saturday, July 5, Germany's coalition government plans to introduce a regular survey among manufacturers, the construction industry as well as retailers to find out about their current needs for skilled workers.

The so-called Arbeitskräftebedarfsindex, or index on the need for workers, will be part of a larger program to asses and react to the precise needs of German businesses as far as skilled foreign workers are concerned.

The labor ministry is also expected to introduce a new alliance to cover the needs for workers that will include employers' associations, trade unions and economic experts.

Drop in new citizens

Representatives of immigrants in Germany meanwhile lamented the country's hesitancy to naturalize people. According to statistics released last week, the number of people who received German citizenship dropped to 113,000 -- the lowest number since 1990 and a drop of 9.5 percent when compared to 2006.

"It's an alarming, but not a surprising development," said Kenan Kolat, the head of Germany's Turkish community.

A German passport lies on top of a map of Europe and Africa

It's been getting harder and harder to get one of these

He added that it has become more and more difficult for people to become German citizens over the last 18 years. Kolat named more stringent language tests, background checks, the need to show proof of adequate financial resources and the introduction of citizenship tests as examples.

"A democratic constitutional state cannot afford to grant lesser rights to seven million of its residents," he said.

As a reaction to the new statistics, German Integration Commissioner Maria Boehmer called on municipalities to adopt a more positive attitude towards handing out citizenships and encourage people to apply for them.

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