The growing shortage of skilled labour is a real challenge in many European countries. In 2022, the German government presented its Skilled labour strategy. One of the fields of action is the implementation of a modern immigration policy. The Skilled Labour Immigration Act was revised, and since November 2023 the amendments have entered successively into force, adapting the immigration policy to the training and labour market needs.  

Strengthening VET immigration

One part of the amendments concerns the strengthening of the immigration of VET learners: among other things, the opportunities for part-time employment, for example as a working student or alongside an apprenticeship, were expanded in March 2024. This also applies during stays to look for an apprenticeship or study place, during language course stays and during study preparation measures. The BIBB provided in 2024 specific recommendations for action on the changes relating to vocational education and training (VET) in the discussion paper ‘Immigration into VET’.

Parallel to the reform of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act, the funding guideline ‘Vocational orientation for people with refugee and migration experience (BOFplus)’ was launched in February 2024. Funding is provided for this target group when they want to start an apprenticeship, vocational qualification or a course of study, and need orientation and support to implement it.

Regional approach: German Professional School (GPS) supports those interested in VET

To provide immigrants with holistic support for career prospects in Germany, a variety of support programmes are required. This is where the German Professional School (GPS) programme – run by the State government in Thuringia since March 2024 – comes in. The programme targets people aged 18 and above, who have a recognised school-leaving qualification, already live in Germany, and are motivated to start vocational training. The GPS programme lasts 6 to 12 months and offers a holistic approach that includes language courses, political education, preparation for training and skills assessment, as well as assistance with dealing with authorities. At the end of the programme, graduates receive a certificate and an apprenticeship contract with a Thuringian company.

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    Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Germany; Cedefop (2024). Germany: amendment of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act supports immigration. National news on VET.