Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil travelled to Canada this week to learn about the country's immigration policy. Together with Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, he visited Ottawa and Toronto to see how skilled workers from abroad are being successfully recruited and integrated into society. The visit gave Heil and Faeser important new ideas that could be incorporated into the modernised Skilled Immigration Act currently being prepared by the Federal Government. In Canada, the ministers learned more about the country's immigration law and the integration of workers into companies and society.
Securing the supply of skilled labour is one of the most pressing challenges facing our economy. Germany must become a more attractive country for skilled workers to immigrate to if we don't want to fall behind economically.
We want to craft modern immigration legislation to make it easier for skilled workers from abroad to come to Germany and start working quickly.
During the trip, there were many occasions to meet and share experiences at different levels, ranging from the ministers responsible for labour market policy and immigration, to regional governments and the immigration authority, to a service agency for immigrants.
While visiting SIEMENS Healthineers, Heil and Faeser learned how the company has been integrating qualified workers and high potentials from all over the world for years.
Federal Labour Minister Heil and Federal Interior Minister Faeser listen to a lecture while seated.
Hubertus Heil and Nancy Faeser talking to skilled workers from the company.
Federal Labour Minister Heil and Federal Interior Minister Faeser are shown the blood analysis system in the laboratory.
Federal Labour Minister Heil and Federal Interior Minister Faeser listen to local staff in a group.
Hubertus Heil and Nancy Faeser in dialogue.
Hubertus Heil and Nancy Faeser sit in the audience and listen to Costi's workers.
A presentation entitled "Making Canada Home" is shown on a computer screen.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil greets a student from Humber College.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil talking to a group of Humber College students.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil is shown how to operate a machine by a student from the college.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil talks to a group of Humber College students at a workbench.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil in conversation with a student who is demonstrating the operation of a piece of equipment.
Federal Minister Hubertus Heil sits on large stairs with numerous students and teachers.
Canada and immigration
In terms of population, Canada is the country with the highest level of immigration in the world. In 1967, the Canadian government introduced a points-based immigration system, which has been refined several times since then.
In this express entry procedure, points are awarded according to criteria such as work experience, age, language skills, education and professional qualifications and offer of employment. Currently, 67 points out of a possible 100 are required to be included in an applicant pool. In a second step, applicants are chosen on the basis of a point system (Comprehensive Ranking System).
After three years of work, immigrants can apply for citizenship. The vast majority of immigrants do so.
A role model for Germany?
Through immigration from other EU countries, Germany was long able to compensate for demographic change. The challenges involved are also becoming apparent in Canada. Today, Germany has reached a peak in employment with just under 46 million people in work. However, even if Germany succeeds in realising all its domestic potential by improving initial and further training and employing more women and older people, the country will need more skilled immigrants from third countries in the future.
For this to happen, a good framework is needed. The Federal Government has thus set itself the goal of creating Europe's most modern legal framework for immigration by refining the Skilled Immigration Act. Excessive bureaucracy is to be removed from immigration regulations. This applies, for example, to the recognition of foreign credentials and the issuing of visas. An "Opportunity Card" and a points-based system will be used to create new, uncomplicated opportunities and access for bright foreign minds.