Faeser plans immigration concept to support food service industry

To alleviate staff shortages in restaurants and hotels, Interior Minister Faeser wants to "bring good workers to Germany". FDP is even calling for a radical change in immigration policy.

Germany’s "traffic light" coalition government sees a readjustment of immigration policy as being the key to resolving the shortage of workers in many sectors. Therefore, following the special arrangement for airport staff, the federal government is planning to simplify immigration for hospitality for workers from abroad. "The adverse labour situation has become much worse as a result of the pandemic," explained Nancy Faeser, Federal Minister of the Interior, to the dpa news agency.

There is a huge shortage of workers and specialists in air transport, and this is also the case in the food service industry and in the hotel trade. "Both myself and Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil understand that we need to make it easier for skilled workers in this area," explains Faeser. She adds that, together with Heil (SPD), she will therefore propose changes before the end of the year "in order to bring good workers to Germany".

Shortages at German airports caused serious repercussions and, for this reason, the federal government quickly approved regulations making it easier – temporarily – for operators to hire personnel. The aim is to cover shortages, for example in baggage handling, by primarily recruiting from Turkey.

Faeser wants "acceptance in the population"

Faeser explains that "a lot of homework needs to be done" in order to increase the attractiveness of Germany for skilled workers. "We need faster recognition of professional qualifications and less bureaucracy," says the SPD politician. She is working very ha on this together with Heil and Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP).

It must also be clear, she says, that this is not about wage dumping, but "about good jobs covered by collective wage agreements which people can live on." In this respect, the government is on the side of the unions, she explains. Faeser underlined that on the path towards modern immigration law, she is "paying very close attention to balanced solutions and acceptance in the population".

"Everyone who can live off the labour of their own hands must immediately be allowed to work"

Christian Dürr, chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the German Federal Parliament has spoken out in favour of broad-based immigration to Germany. "Following the Gastarbeiter phase in the sixties and seventies, the labour market has become closed off. This position has never really been changed," explained Dürr to the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper. In fact, he adds, hundreds of thousands of people who have been living in Germany for years are being kept away from the labour market.

"The opposite must be the case. Today the motto must be: 'Everyone who can live off the labour of their own hands must immediately be allowed to work'," demanded Dürr. In this respect, the government led by the CDU/CSU made a historic mistake, he said, in reference to Angela Merkel's time in government.

When the baby boomers retired, the generations then entering the labour market were only half the size. "This is about urgently needed immigration at all levels in the labour market," said Dürr. "Those who can live off the labour of their own hands are welcome. Because they ultimately pay taxes and pension contributions." 

Source: spiegel.de (German news magazin Der Spiegel), revised by iMOVE, October 2022