Despite the pandemic: federal employment agency recruits more skilled workers from abroad

Notwithstanding the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic over the past year, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has succeeded in further increasing the recruitment of skilled workers from abroad.

20 Jan 2022 | Press release no.5

Overall, the central placement services (ZAV) of the BA successfully supported more than 3,200 workers from abroad in taking up employment in Germany in 2021. In the previous year, the same number was just under 2,500.

New placement agreements allow for the migration of skilled workers

In 2021, under the Skilled Immigration Act (FEG), the BA concluded new placement agreements with Indonesia and the Indian state of Kerala on care workers as part of the Triple Win programme. The BA is implementing this programme together with the German Foundation for International Development GmbH (GIZ). Additional agreements have been signed with Mexico (target occupations: nursing staff and cooks) and Colombia (electricians and gardeners).

Among other things, placement agreements enable skilled workers in certain target occupations to begin the process for the recognition of their foreign vocational qualifications after they have entered Germany.

Although the Skilled Immigration Act (FEG) has simplified the migration process, certain hurdles still exist in terms of the immigration of skilled workers. These include the language barrier as well as the lengthy and complicated recognition of foreign professional qualifications. A primary concern of the BA is to ensure fair migration that benefits all sides. Therefore, on the basis of close consultation with the partners in the country of origin, skilled workers are not recruited from countries in which they are needed themselves.

Additional placement agreement for seasonal workers in agriculture

Germany also has a high seasonal demand for foreign harvest workers in the area of agriculture. For this purpose, the BA has also concluded bilateral placement agreements, one of which was made with Georgia as recently as 2020. The first seasonal workers from Georgia arrived in 2021. A new agreement has also been signed with the Republic of Moldova.

New projects with strong partners

To be able to manage the complex migration process in the best possible way, the BA regularly involves other strong partners in its projects and programmes for the recruitment of skilled workers from abroad. In 2020, the “Hand in Hand for International Talents” project was launched with DIHK Service GmbH, while the “Craftsmanship offers future” project was launched with the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH). In 2021, it was possible for the first skilled workers from both projects to be welcomed by their new employers in Germany.

In the projects offered by the BA, qualified workers are prepared for working in Germany while they are still abroad, including the provision of language training, and are provided with wide-ranging support in the migration process with the visa and certification authorities.