Merkel warns of German business exodus without more skilled workers

Germany is facing a risk of businesses relocating due to a shortage of skilled workers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.

“We know that many sectors and businesses are looking for skilled workers,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast, ahead of a summit on the issue on Monday.

“That is why it is necessary for us to make every effort to recruit a sufficient number of specialists. Otherwise companies will have to migrate – and of course we do not want that.”

On Monday, representatives from the German government, employers and trade unions will meet for a summit in Berlin on the immigration of skilled workers and how Germany’s new Skilled Workers Immigration Act can take effect quickly.

The law will come into force on March 1, 2020 and is intended to pave the way for qualified workers from non-EU countries to come to and remain in Germany.

“Without sufficient skilled workers, a business location cannot be successful,” Merkel said.

“Whereas 15 years ago we had the problem of having 5 million people unemployed, today the issue is, ‘Where can I get the right skilled workers?'”

Germany wants to harness its own potential through “good education for as many people as possible,” Merkel said, but it will also be necessary to bring skilled workers from the EU to Germany.

There are already 2.5 million people from EU countries working in Germany. “But that alone is not enough, and that is why we also have to look for skilled workers from outside the European Union,” Merkel said.

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