GERMANY - Struggling to Find Skilled Immigrants

J. Froese

Germany faces a fundamental migration dilemma. Refugees from poor and war-torn countries flock to it as a haven while skilled professionals from outside of the European Union—workers the German economy sorely needs—tend to shun it.

Think tanks forecast that the German labor market could be short as many as 7 million workers by 2035. “We need labor and skilled worker immigration from third countries,” Vanessa Ahuja of the German Federal Employment Agency told German media, referring to non-EU countries. Her office’s goal: 400,000 new professionals a year.

In a U-turn from a decade ago or so, Germany has realized that it needs prodigious labor reinforcement from abroad to plug the gaps and has sent out word that they are welcome. And, in fact, there has been a positive response—mostly though from professionals within the EU. Romanians, Poles, Spaniards, Italians, and Bulgarians above all flock to Germany, which the EU’s freedom of movement principle makes relatively easy for a fellow EU citizen.

But since all of the EU 27 members are currently experiencing more deaths than births—Germany’s fertility rate of 1.58 children per woman as of 2021 may be a hair above the EU average of 1.53 that same year, but it is still far from the 2.1 birth rate necessary for a population to grow—the entire continent is waking up to the fact that their economies will require ever more foreign workers as populations age and the downward demographic curve steepens. In Spain and Poland, people are having even fewer babies than Germans. This means that in the near future, Germany will not be so free to draw from the European pot as it does now.

“The Polish labor market needs workers today,” Ulrich Kober, a migration expert at Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German research institute, told Foreign Policy. “I fear that the inner EU labor migration that Germany has benefited from so much is coming quickly to an end. We’ve got to find another solution.”

And the predicament is more dire by the year: The number of Germans at retirement age will rise from 16 million people today to at least 20 million people by the mid-2030s. In the 2040s, the number of people aged 80 or over will increase and with them, their need for long-term care. Meanwhile, the number of working-age people will drop by between 1.6 million and 4.8 million people in the next 15 years, according to the Federal Statistical Office., 22 March 2023


This is a problem felt throughout Europe and, in fact, most of the industrialized world. There are just not enough working-age people to fill all the jobs. This issue has long been predicted but has become especially critical in recent years. The cause is clear; average family size must include at least 2.1 children to maintain a nation’s population, and this has not been the case in almost all European countries for decades now. Pro-family policies such as generous maternity and paternity leave help but are unable to reverse the trend in Europe (as well as in Asia).

The only other temporary solution to declining population is immigration, despite how politically unpalatable it often is. However, as the article states, the influx of workers from Eastern Europe (made possible by open borders within the European Union) has nearly dried up as the economy of these countries has improved (again, thanks in large part to the EU). There is an even more dire population crisis in the East. Shockingly, the article also reported that during a trip to Ghana, West Africa, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner asked an auditorium full of college students, “Who would consider working in Germany?” Not a single hand was raised.

Although Foreign Policy points to unwelcoming policies, bureaucracy, and a difficult language (German), the often-overlooked fact is that the economy of Ghana and a number of other African countries is rapidly improving. Outside of active war zones, famine, and other dire situations, the motivation for migration is declining throughout the world. Quite frankly, the material benefits of the global economy are available in nearly every city of the world these days.

Young people are clearly a vital resource that countries will be increasingly clamoring for in coming years. It is no wonder the Bible states: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5, NASB). - By J. Froese

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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