German IT industry wants immigrants

German IT industry association Bitkom wants easier immigration rules for foreign IT professionals. Bitkom’s president, August-Wilhelm Scheer, stated Germany had to open itself up more to offset the country’s lack of specialised personnel. According to Bitkom around 28.000 vacancies are open as there aren’t enough professionals to fill them.

Bitkom said an idea being forwarded by politicians to fill vacancies with unemployed persons is “unworldly”. Instead, controlled immigration measures should be implemented. These would allow professionals to work in Germany and visit langauge and integration courses, as well as assisting in finding their kids places in a kindergarten and a flat. “A successful integration policy can become an advantage for the immigration of qualified specialists from abroad,” commented Scheer.

Bitkom chalked up three demands in order to get qualified foreigners to immigrate to Germany. First off, the minimum wage for a permanent residence permit ought to be dropped from €66,000 to around €40,000, which is the average entry level salary engineers and computer scientists receive in Germany. In addition, an international marketing to get people to “Study and Work in Germany” ought to be launched.

What will create the biggest ruckus is Bitkom’s demand that an independet commission should create a concept to control immigration using a point system – just like Canada. A certain amount of immigrants scoring high on various criteria could be let into the country to fill vacancies.

The demands of Germany’s IT industry come one day before Chancellor Angela Merkel holds her “Integrationsgipfel” (immigration summit), where parties representing the state and various immigrant groups get together and chat on how to live together. Immigration and integration have become a major topic in the last few years, just as in Germany’s neighbours France and The Netherlands.

German Libdem minister Rainer Bruederle is currently visiting Canada and has fallen in love with the country’s system of controlled immigration, Merkel however doesn’t want to hear about it.

Back 10 years ago, during the height of the Internet Bubble, Germany’s IT industry demanded easier immigration of qualified staffers from countries such as India. In Northrhine-Westphalia, the conservative Christian Democrats launched a rather folkish campaign during elections calling for “Kinder statt Inder” (Children, not Indians). Candidate Juergen Ruettgers said German children should be schooled in IT-related matters. An additional influx of Indians was also deemed “unmoral”, as there already were enough foreigners that had to be integrated.