More non-EU nationals moving to Germany for work | News | DW | 15.04.2019

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More non-EU nationals moving to Germany for work

The number of non-EU citizens moving to Germany for work has risen by about 20 percent for a third year in a row. Figures show most of these foreigners are men from India, China and the United States.

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Monday reported a 20 percent jump over the past year in people from countries outside the EU coming to work in Germany.  

The group makes up a relatively small portion of the country's 10.9 million foreigners.

Read moreGermany's new immigration laws open door for skilled labor

What Destatis found:

  • The number of non-EU citizens with a work permit in Germany rose from 217,000 in 2017 to 266,000 in 2018.
  • It is the third year in a row the number has risen by 20 percent.
  • Most of the foreigners came from India (12%), China (9%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (8%), and the United States (7%).
  • On average the newcomers were 35 years old, and more than two thirds of them were male.
  • More than 80 percent had a temporary work permit, while 17 percent had a permanent permit allowing them to stay indefinitely.

Strong increase from the West Balkans

The statistics office reported that Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina accounted for almost 25% of foreigners with work permits in Germany in 2018. In 2015 they only made up around 9%.

Since the West Balkan countries were declared safe in 2014 and 2015, it's been harder for their citizens to get humanitarian residence permits in Germany, making migration for employment purposes a more viable option. From 2016, nationals from these states have also enjoyed easier access to the German labor market.

Read more: Finding skilled labor in Germany: 'It's never been so hard'

Foreigners working in Germany

Destatis pointed out that non-EU citizens with a work permit did not fall into the same category as the total number of foreigners in the German labor market. The latter may include EU citizens able to live and work in any member state without a permit, or foreigners registered with the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR) under other residence permits who also have the possibility of taking up work, such as refugees.

Read moreGerman skilled trades boom, but workers not on tap

Growth in newcomers

According to the AZR, there were about 10.9 million people with just one nationality living in Germany in 2018 — an increase of about 292,000 or 2.7% on the previous year. 2017 also saw a rise of 5.7%, which experts partly put down to late refugee applications following the migration crisis in 2015-16.

Changing laws

Germany's government approved new laws at the end of 2018 aimed at filling massive gaps in the skilled labor market. The changes mean it's now easier for skilled workers, including non-EU citizens, to move to Germany, especially if they work in a field suffering shortages.

Watch video 02:45

Germany mulls law to alleviate shortage of skilled labor

nm/rt (AFP, dpa)

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