BWP 1/2022

Migration of skilled workers

BWP 1/2022

Germany is reliant on immigration in order to cover its qualified skilled worker requirements. But how can skilled worker demand and supply be successfully aligned on the German labour market? How can the competencies and qualifications of migrants be adequately evaluated, and how can the potential they offer be exploited? The tenth anniversary of the Recognition Act in 2022 provides an ideal opportunity to address these questions. The intention, however, is not merely to examine this particular immigration route. A focus will also be placed on looking beyond the Recognition Act to examine other strategies and instruments for the recruitment, training and integration of the foreign labour supply. The general prevailing structural conditions, initiatives at company level and guidance provision will all form objects of consideration.


Special Focus

Petra Bendel

“We need to create more regular immigration channels.”

Interview with Professor Petra Bendel, Chair of the Research Council of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (SVR)

Germany is reliant on immigration in order to cover its qualified skilled worker requirements. Statutory amendments and provisions have been introduced over the past few years with a view to facilitating the influx of qualified skilled workers. The most recent of these measures was the Skilled Immigration Act, which entered into force in 2020. But are they achieving the desired effect?The question of how immigration to Germany can be managed extends beyond a purely quantitative matching of skilled worker supply and demand. Further issues are at play. How can we structure global economic migration in a fair and equitable way? How can the competencies and qualifications of migrants be adequately evaluated, and how can the potential they offer be exploited? And how can they be effectively integrated into a country of immigration such as Germany?
Vera Hanewinkel

Labour migration to the Federal Republic of Germany – from the beginnings to the present day

The economic growth achieved by the young nation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s would not have been feasible without the “guest workers” recruited from abroad. Six decades later, the debate surrounding labour bottlenecks and shortages of qualified skilled workers is emerging once again. Without immigration, Germany seems to be in jeopardy as an economic location. The current general conditions governing labour migration are, however, different to those which prevailed in the immediate period following the war. This article provides a brief overview of the development of labour migration in Germany from the beginnings up to the present day.
Eugenie Becker, Johannes Graf

The Skilled Immigration Act – legal changes and initial findings regarding quantitative development

In force since March 2020, the Skilled Immigration Act opens up new prospects for skilled workers from third countries who wish to emigrate to Germany. This article presents the ensuing legal changes, especially for skilled workers without academic qualifications, and it also provides an initial quantitative summary of the development of economic migration based on data from the Central Register of Foreign Nationals.
Eric Schuß

Educational investments of migrants to Germany – implications for the Skilled Immigration Act

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Integration into the German labour market is often a process which takes several years, even for migrants who have already completed VET or a programme of higher education study abroad. The IAB-SOEP Migration Sample for the years 2013 to 2019 (derived from the annual migration survey carried out by the Institute for Employment Research, IAB, and the German Socio-Economic Panel, SOEP) is used to demonstrate that even these well-qualified groups of persons attend language courses and acquire further qualifications after they have arrived in the country. It also emerges that their participation in education and training is also determined by the legal migration channel used and by career choice as well as being driven by the level of qualification achieved prior to migration.
Alexander Studthoff

Immigration for the purpose of training – what does the route into German vocational education and training from third countries look like?

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The Skilled Immigration Act (FEG) has been in force since March 2020 and extends opportunities for immigration by international skilled workers. The possibilities of coming to Germany to pursue vocational education and training have also been expanded. This article now considers how legal provisions are being implemented: Which challenges do trainees and trainers encounter, and how can things be optimised further?
Silvia Niediek

Well prepared for a long-term stay

The private education and training sector is underpinning efforts to recruit persons interested in training from abroad

The Education and Training Institute of Bavarian Trade and Industry (bbw) is offering bridging courses to prepare young people from India for training in Germany. A combination of language, technical and intercultural guidance and organisational assistance aims to help prepare for and support the migration process and thus make integration in Germany easier.
Johanna Elsässer, Daniela Wiemers

Ten years of the Recognition Act

A transparent and low-threshold structure of provision has been the key success factor

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The Recognition Act was described as a “milestone of integration policy” when it entered into force in the spring of 2012. The aims of the new statutory provisions were to help people with foreign professional and vocational qualifications to obtain appropriate employment and contribute towards securing a supply of skilled workers. To what extent has success been achieved? This article mainly focuses on the support structures that have been put in place to implement the law. It concludes by outlining the possible future development of these structures.
Christian Gerhards, Kathrin Weis

Company strategies and instruments for the employment of skilled workers from a migrant background

Results from the 2020 BIBB Training Panel

From a company perspective, one of the key reasons for employing persons from a migrant background is to cover their requirement for qualified skilled workers. However, which company strategies and instruments are conducive to appealing to this group in a targeted way and to acquiring their services? The present article investigates this question by looking at data from the 2020 BIBB Establishment Panel on Training and Competence Development (BIBB Training Panel) and illustrates its relevance in conjunction with further company structural characteristics.
Ute Galonski, Wolfram Gießler, Sylvia Wemhöner

Diversity is normal – pathways to operational integration competence in hospitals and care institutions

The ESF project WELCOME began in 2019 with the objective of developing and piloting a systematic approach towards operational integration competence. Diversity-aware human resources development has been shown to play a key role. This article presents the project and the initial experiences and findings to emerge.
Tanja Fendel, Parvati Trübswetter

Employment potential of migrants who have come to Germany for family reasons – a neglected dimension?

The employment rates of persons who have emigrated to Germany for family reasons are lower than the rates for those who come for economic purposes. Nevertheless, they are still higher than the employment rates of refugees. This article presents the differences in the composition of these three groups and shows the significance of this for differences in labour market integration.
Canan Uluğ

Recognising female migrants as skilled workers

Promoting participation in the labour market in line with qualifications

The shortage of qualified skilled workers is clearly discernible in many companies. At the same time, and flying in the face of the common clichés, there are large numbers of well-trained and qualified female migrants and refugees. This article illustrates the barriers which make it more difficult for this target group to be integrated into the labour market. It presents experiences which have been gleaned from the IQ NRW sub-project “ÖFFNUNGsZEITEN” and sets out the success factors which enable female migrants to be occupationally integrated in a way which is commensurate with their qualifications.
Anna Rommel

Young refugees are a target group for Bavarian and Swabian companies providing training

The Swabian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s commitment to supporting Afghani refugees attracted a considerable amount of public media attention in 2019. In fact, however, the chamber had already begun its efforts to integrate young refugees into the regional training market five years previously, in December 2014. This article summarises the experiences gained since this point in time, states the challenges encountered and the solutions developed, and concludes by highlighting the areas in which further action is needed.

From research and practice

Johanna Mölls

DQR quo vadis?

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Ten years ago, the Federal Government, the federal states and the social partners reached agreement on a joint position for the implementation of a German Qualifications Framework (DQR) that would establish equivalence between academic and vocational training for the first time. This article sheds light on this agreement and describes the momentum and impacts which the DQR has unfurled at a national level to date. It concludes by exploring the benefits which would accrue if a firm legal framework were established.
Marlise Kammermann, Barbara E. Stalder, Marie-Theres Schönbächler

Using preliminary integration apprenticeships to help secure a supply of skilled workers

Results from the Swiss pilot programme INVOL

The pilot programme Preliminary integration apprenticeships – INVOL is directed at refugees and persons granted temporary leave to remain, the objective being to prepare them for qualifying VET and for integration into the Swiss labour market. A further aim is to ensure a supply of young skilled workers in sectors which are suffering shortages. Results from an evaluation of the first cohort to complete INVOL in 2019 show that the programme is helping with skilled worker recruitment and is also contributing to the integration of refugees and persons with temporary leave to remain.


Profile of an occupation – geomatician

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Natural disasters are occurring ever more frequently. The floods which hit the Eifel region in the summer of 2021 made it clear just how devastating the consequences of such events may be. The interpretation and visualisation of geodata assists in arriving at a better estimation of which areas may be struck by flooding and of how badly they could be affected. Geomaticians prepare such data and draw up risk maps. They thus make an important contribution to the interpretation of complex spatial circumstances.

The Board of BIBB

Thomas Vollmer

Report on the Board Meeting held on 15 December 2021

The third Board Meeting of 2021 took place virtually under the chairmanship of Elke Hannack, employee representative. Consultations centred on issues such as the current situation on the 2021 training places market in light of the coronavirus pandemic, vocational education and training for people suffering from mental illness, and the topic of the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude.
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