Germany wants to make it easier for international tech talent to get a work visa

A great work-life balance, excellent transport, a favorite place of big tech companies and a social culture with currywurst and Oktoberfest… welcome to Germany, a country trying to make itself a top choice for workers eager to move abroad .

Germany urgently needs more skilled workers, but a major barrier to attracting international talent is the country’s penchant for bureaucracy. In the face of an ongoing skills gap, it must move with the times. That’s why Germany recently decided to make it easier for people from outside the EU to go there for work, with new legislation on the way to attract new foreign talent.

Reform on the way

The step to the Skilled immigration law (which was approved by the cabinet in March) has been spurred on by the fact that the country suffers from a major skills gap. Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, told the Financieele Dagblad that if it does not take action, Germany will be short of as many as 7 million workers by 2035.

Some of the skills the country lacks are in the IT sector, which is interesting given that tech companies love Germany. Major market leaders such as Apple, Amazon and Airbnb have already been tempted to set up offices there. Meanwhile, the country is an incubator for a range of startups, alongside homegrown tech giants like SAP and Zalando.

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But traditionally it has not been easy for workers from outside Europe to move to Germany. Heil is determined to change this. He fears that the skills shortage will be a “brake” on Germany’s economic growth, especially as experienced baby boomers retire in the coming years and their role becomes up for grabs.

To attract more workers from abroad who can bring in much-needed skills, he is reforming the law. This makes it easier for foreign workers to look for a job in Germany, without the need for a German professional qualification.

Take a chance card

Part of this new system includes a so-called ‘chance card’ or ‘chance card’. It contains the criteria for admission with a points system based on factors such as vocational training or a diploma, experience and age.

If applicants have enough points, they can look for a job in Germany. The government will issue a number of these cards each year.

Moving to a new country can present some challenges, but it is also an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture. In the past, Germany tended to treat people coming for work from outside the EU as “Gastarbeiter” or “guest workers”.

But Heil says he wants the focus to be on people feeling welcome and integrated into society, not treated as temporary members of the community.

The government launched a portal—Do it in Germany—a few years ago, targeting workers from abroad. Last year, the federal economy minister made a direct appeal in a new YouTube video for the portal, telling skilled workers: “We need you.”

Main technical hubs

With a population of 83 million, Germany is a huge country with a number of fast-growing tech hubs. But where should you settle if you move there for a job in tech?

A Deloitte study discovered that Munich is the country’s main hub, where you can find the largest number of STEM jobs and the highest level of specialization in the ICT sector.

Berlin was second, while Hamburg was also a highlight. But it’s not just the well-known German cities that are good options for tech workers – the same study found that Darmstadt, a city near Frankfurt nicknamed the ‘city of science’, was also a top location for tech positions.

Major tech players have flocked to Germany to set up bases there. In addition to a wealth of startups, you will find Zalando, Google and Facebook in Berlin; Munich is where Apple has set up its European Silicon Design Center and Amazon Web Services has offices, while Hamburg is home to Dropbox, Microsoft and Airbnb.

You can see why they are attracted to the country: it has a strong social security system, low crime rate, good wages, excellent childcare and great health care. The proximity to other European countries means that traveling around the EU is easy.

Interested? Here are three engineering jobs in Germany that are now open to applicants:

DevOps engineer, Astriol Academics GmbH, Munich

This recruitment agency is looking for a DevOps Engineer (m/f/d) who wants to work in a job where “no day is the same”. They offer the freedom to work independently in addition to the security of being an employee. The ideal candidate has a degree in computer science or equivalent qualification. View the full job specification here.

Senior IT consultant, Xenium AG, Berlin

Xenium AG is looking to add to its IT consultancy team, with new hires expected to work directly with a customer in Germany or Austria. This full-time, permanent position is aimed at someone who has several years of professional experience in the IT environment and who can communicate confidently in German and English. More details here.

Head Fullstack Engineer, Trusted Shops AG, Germany

This role will allow you to work from home anywhere in Germany, adding a remote twist to the job. Trusted Shops develops SaaS solutions for businesses across Europe and is looking for a highly skilled and experienced Principal Fullstack Engineer to join the team and work with one of the 13 cross-functional product teams. Discover what your day could look like here.

Check out the House of Talent Job Board for a full list of jobs in Germany

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