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Germany relatively closed to non-graduate workers: OECD

04 February 2013, 16:34 CET

(BERLIN) - Workers from outside the European Union with low or medium skill levels have much more difficulty than foreign university graduates in obtaining work in Germany, a study found on Monday.

"While the German immigration system is generous for graduate applicants, immigration is much more difficult in occupations for which no university-level degree is required. However, that is precisely where the lack of workers in Germany is relatively acute," the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development wrote in a new report.

Businesses expect an even greater shortage of medium-skilled staff in comparison to high-skilled workers in the future.

"At present, however, non-EU citizens have little chance of getting medium-skilled jobs in Germany," the OECD complained.

In its report, the body calculated that the number of immigrant workers from outside the EU and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) stood at 25,000 a year, or around 0.02 percent of the population.

By comparison, the number of immigrant workers in Australia, Denmark, Canada and the United Kingdom was five to 10 times higher, it pointed out.

German employers still seldom recruit workers from outside Germany, the OECD complained.

"Even companies that expect to face a labour shortage in the future rarely consider the possibility. This could become a problem," warned OECD deputy secretary-general Yves Leterme.

"Germany's prosperity depends to a considerable extent on whether it manages to remain competitive despite its ageing population," he said.

"It will become difficult to cope with the projected labour shortage without an appropriate immigration strategy."


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