Germany has begun implementation of a new law relaxing the visa requirements for nurses, information technology [IT] specialists, vocationally trained workers, and those in other technical jobs in high demand in the country.

Under the new law, Fachkraefteeinwanderungsgesetz [Skilled Workers Immigration Law], a qualified foreign worker that speaks good German can get a 6-months visa for looking for a job. Germany’s new skilled immigration law came into force on March 1, 2020.

Anyone with vocational training that was up to the German standards can get a German work visa, provided they had successfully cleared at least B-1 level German language tests through the Goethe Institut.

German critics are of the opinion that the German language requirement ought to be scrapped as it involves a significant cost for the worker to pursue the course in a local Goethe Institut.

A new agency has also been created for speeding up visa processing. From the previous processing time of up to 6 months, the target now is that of visa processing in 3 weeks.

Germany has a requirement of approximately 1.2 million skilled workers. The biggest requirement for skilled workers is in the sectors of nursing, construction, and IT.

As per a survey, as in December 2019, over 50,000 nurses were needed in hospitals across Germany. It is expected that by 2035, around 307,000 nurses and caregivers will be needed in Germany.

The reason for the high demand in the health and nursing sector can be attributed to an aging population wherein the number of individuals above 60 is rising in the country due to good medical care and a low birth rate.

Germany is estimated to have 4.53 million individuals in need of care by 2060.

IT is another sector requiring skilled workers. Around 124,000 IT experts are needed in Germany currently.

Digital industry lobby groups have also been seeking scrapping of the German language requirement for the IT sector.