Germany: New Immigration Law Proposed

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

Germany's Social Democratic Party wants to implement an immigration law similar to Canada's points system, Thomas Oppermann, the SPD's party leader, told reporters ahead of a party conference on the proposal at the Bundestag April 26.

Under the SPD proposal, non-EU nationals could apply online to work in Germany by providing their qualifications, language skills, age, job offer and educational or work experience, which would be graded and assigned a certain number of points. If applicants have enough points, German consular officers would approve the application and unless there are security concerns allow applicants to travel to Germany and start working. Without a job offer, only applicants with very high language and professional skills would be approved for entry.

Initially, immigration would be limited to 25,000 non-EU employees, Otto Schily, interior minister of the SPD from 1998-2005, told reporters April 26, and parliament would be able to adjust the numbers as labor market needs require.

Due to demographic changes, Germany will face a serious skills shortage in coming decades and needs a “proactive immigration law” to draw foreign employees into its labor market, Schily said.

So far, Germany's efforts to attract more qualified employees from non-EU countries have not been very successful.


Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union opposes the SPD proposal as unnecessary given that the European Union's freedom of movement already provides access to the German labor market for EU citizens and workers are available (for example) from Southern European countries.

With national elections Sept. 24, parliamentary action on the SPD proposal is unlikely this term, but the SPD might introduce legislation after the elections.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For More Information

The full text of the SPD proposal is available in German


For more information on German HR law and regulation, see the Germany primer.

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