June 25, 2015

German care firms reluctant to recruit foreign workers

The German nursing sector is facing a shortage of qualified staff but is hesitant to recruit workers from abroad, according to a new study.

The Bertelsmann Foundation study found that 61% of care firms in Germany are currently understaffed, with an average of 4.3 vacancies. But only one-sixth of firms have ever recruited workers from outside the country.

The reasons cited by employers for not recruiting foreign nurses include laborious processes, costs, and legal obstacles. The authors of the study, which surveyed around 600 care firms, call for Germany to adopt a more proactive and labor-market-orientated immigration policy.

Elsewhere in Europe, the UK’s Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union has warned that new immigration rules could mean the country’s National Health Service losing thousands of nurses.

The British government plans to introduce reforms forcing non-EU migrants earning less than £35,000 a year to leave the country after six years. The RCN warns this could affect over 3,000 public-sector nurses.

Abdurrahman Aydemir has written for IZA World of Labor on the economic benefits of skill-based immigration. He writes that: “Designing skill-based selection policies is complicated; policies need to reflect labor market characteristics and the applicant pool. To maximize benefits, immigrant selection policies should be complemented by economic integration policies to ease the transfer of foreign human capital.”

The Bertelsmann Foundation report can be found here (in German).

Related articles:
Skill-based immigration, economic integration, and economic performance by Abdurrahman B. Aydemir
Income of immigrants and their return by Govert E. Bijwaard
Freedom of movement for workers by John Kennan
Using a point system for selecting immigrants by Massimiliano Tani

Read more articles on migration here