The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) have presented a first evaluation of implementation of the current immigration law for foreign professionals Wirkungsanalyse des rechtlichen Rahmens für ausländische Fachkräfte (impact analysis of the legal framework for foreign professionals).

’Germany is well on its way to improve its culture of welcome. This is of fundamental significance for co-existing in our society and for strengthening our economic competitiveness. I am very pleased that our efforts of the past years have been fruitful: the German legal framework for immigration of foreign professionals is appropriate, now it is important to successfully put these regulations into practice. Our working group has already started to work on several of the study's recommendations’, said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel.

All in all, the legal framework itself is evaluated as positive, also internationally, with Germany's liberal implementation of the EU blue card and improved immigration options for qualified professionals being particularly noteworthy.

However, the study identified potential for improvement in actual administrative performance. For instance, information deficits of authorities still lead to inconsistent decisions and incomplete electronic transmission systems impede visa processes.

The study recommends to increase Germany’s appeal for international professionals by improving customer-orientation and proactive guidance regarding immigration and remaining in the country. Foreign university graduates who present a huge potential of skilled professionals need increasingly to be supported and integrated into the German employment market.

’Many enterprises in Germany face more and more difficulties in finding skilled employees, but also in finding suitable apprentices’, emphasises DIHK President Dr Eric Schweitzer. ’Our domestic potential alone is not sufficient. This is why we have to place greater attention on employing foreign professionals - both from within Europe and from third countries.’

The impact analysis was carried out by the working group ’Ausländisches Arbeitskräftepotenzial erschließen und Willkommenskultur schaffen’ (tapping foreign labour potential and creating a culture of welcome) headed by BMWi and DIHK as part of the federal government's demography strategy. The working group aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises in winning over and successfully integrating international professionals, and to promote a culture of welcome in administration, businesses and society. To this end, existing measures are being bundled and new ones are being developed.