Why immigration to Germany is so difficult for skilled workers

people in the office

More than half of the survey participants would like individual support offers, for example when looking for suitable housing or a job.

(Photo: Imago/Westend61)

Berlin Germany is certainly an attractive destination for foreign skilled workers. But many hurdles deter. And for those who make it this far, it is not uncommon for a little disillusionment to set in upon arrival.

These are the main results of a large-scale, but non-representative survey by the industrialized countries organization OECD on behalf of the Ministry of Labour.

>> Read here: Large survey shows who really wants to come to Germany

In a first wave, from August to October 2022, almost 30,000 people abroad who were interested in working in Germany and who obtained information from the “Make it in Germany” web portal or German diplomatic missions abroad were surveyed. Six months later, around 10,000 people from the first wave could be interviewed again.

This shows that more than half of those surveyed from the first wave had firm intentions of coming to Germany – and eight out of ten of them had already taken the first concrete steps. But six months later, only four percent of the participants from the second wave actually arrived in Germany.

Knowledge of German comes first

For the others, the preparations are hardly more advanced than they were half a year earlier – apart from the fact that 70 percent of those willing to migrate have now acquired at least a rudimentary knowledge of German.

workers wanted



is what Germany needs net per year in order to keep the number of potential gainfully employed persons constant.

Germany urgently needs immigrants. According to calculations by the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB), 400,000 people would have to immigrate net each year in order to keep the labor force potential constant. And more than two out of three of those surveyed by the OECD who are still abroad say they could move to Germany within six months.

What must give food for thought, however, is that many give up their plans if the process takes too long. For example, four out of ten participants in the second wave of the survey would abandon their plans if immigration cannot be implemented within a year.

And this period is extremely short. Those who want to immigrate often wait months for an appointment at the diplomatic mission abroad, and four out of ten survey participants complain about long waiting times. However, almost 30 percent of those willing to immigrate simply have problems understanding the German entry regulations at all.

>> Read here: How German bureaucracy makes it difficult for skilled workers to immigrate

For a large proportion of those interested, obstacles on the way to Germany are not only a lack of language skills but also a lack of financial means to be able to pay for the trip or language courses at all and to be able to make a living, at least in the initial phase.

Salaries are not the problem

More than half of the survey participants would like individual support offers, for example when looking for suitable housing or a job. As far as pay is concerned, 90 percent of those surveyed stated that salaries in Germany met or even exceeded their expectations.

However, some disillusionment sets in among those who have already made it to Germany. Although 60 percent are generally satisfied with their life in Germany, a good half would like to stay permanently.

However, those surveyed who are still living abroad are more positive about the German welcoming culture than those who have already got to know them. Just under a third of those who arrived see Germany as a country that welcomes immigrants without restrictions.

It is also interesting that many people willing to immigrate can imagine living in more rural areas. If you implement your migration plan, you will end up in an urban conurbation. For example, 58 percent of those surveyed who moved to Germany and who did not specify a preferred place of residence in the first wave live in a big city.

More: How the traffic light coalition wants to bring skilled workers to Germany

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