Berlin In the international competition for top talent, Germany has lost some of its attractiveness for the labor market. Other countries are much more interesting for academics, entrepreneurs and founders from abroad. This is mainly due to the sluggish digitization in this country. The situation is different when it comes to attractiveness for international students. Here the Federal Republic occupies second place behind the USA.
These are the core results of a new international comparative study that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has drawn up together with the Bertelsmann Foundation for all 38 industrialized countries. In addition to immigration regulations, factors such as professional opportunities, income and taxes or the prospects for family members of the migrants were considered as criteria for the attractiveness of the location.
It is true that Germany is very popular with foreign academics who can imagine emigrating. According to a Gallup survey of university graduates with at least a master’s degree, it ranked third behind the USA and Canada in 2021. In addition, the Federal Republic has comparatively liberal immigration rules for highly qualified people.
Academics: Easier naturalization could bring Germany up in the location ranking
But in the location ranking for academic specialists, Germany is far behind in 15th place behind the top countries New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and Norway. Compared to the last survey in 2019, the Federal Republic has lost another three places – mainly because countries like Luxembourg and Great Britain have improved significantly.
>> Read here: The number of people in work is increasing – 95 percent of the increase is attributable to migrants
In addition to the failures in digitization, the high taxes and duties in particular have a negative effect on the attractiveness in this country. In addition, many graduates from abroad are employed below their qualifications. This means that a not inconsiderable proportion of immigrants leave Germany again every year, said the head of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Andrea Nahles, recently at an event of the employers’ association BDA.
Other countries are also much further ahead when it comes to the naturalization of immigrants. Here, the dual citizenship planned by the federal government could bring Germany up a bit in the ranking. Widespread xenophobia does not exactly contribute to a successful welcoming culture.
Entrepreneurs: Germany is one of the few countries that ties Visa to a minimum capital
For foreign entrepreneurs, Germany is hardly more attractive as a location than for skilled workers with a university degree – here the Federal Republic only manages 13th place. Compared to 2019, it has slipped seven places. While countries like Great Britain have improved their visa policies, Germany is one of the few countries in Europe that ties visas for entrepreneurs to a minimum capital.
In addition, according to the OECD, comparatively strict protection against dismissal, regulatory obstacles or the slow expansion of the fiber optic network are hampering entrepreneurial activity in this country. The top group countries – Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and New Zealand – offer a much better environment.
Founders: Germany does not offer its own start-up visa
Germany cannot keep up with other industrialized nations when it comes to the locational conditions for founders of start-ups, which were examined for the first time. Canada, the USA, France, Great Britain and Ireland are ahead here.
The biggest shortcoming is that, unlike many other countries, Germany does not offer its own start-up visa. In addition, a minimum amount is required in this country for founders to invest. This reduces the quality of the location, as does a comparatively small number of co-working spaces or high regulatory hurdles.
Students: Low tuition fees and good job opportunities make Germany more attractive
Germany is only at the forefront when it comes to attractiveness for foreign students, especially thanks to comparatively low tuition fees. Here the Federal Republic occupies second place behind the USA – ahead of Great Britain, Norway and Australia. The growing range of courses taught in English, the opportunity to work while studying, and the good prospects of staying after graduating all pay off.
>> Read here: Germany is the most important non-English speaking destination country for foreign students
The international comparison clearly shows “what Germany needs to do to make the migration of skilled workers, which is so important for our country, even better,” says Ralph Heck, CEO of the Bertelsmann Foundation.
The OECD researchers Thomas Liebig and Helen Ewald state that the reform of the immigration of skilled workers planned by the federal government could have a positive effect if accompanying progress were made in the recognition of foreign qualifications or the digitization of visa processes.
“These important steps should give the impetus to improve the other framework conditions and thus make better use of the great potential that talents from abroad offer.”
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