Number of non-EU workers coming to Germany has tripled since 2011

Number of non-EU workers coming to Germany has tripled since 2011

More and more people are coming from outside the EU to work in Germany, new figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show. 

295.000 non-EU citizens working in Germany in 2021

The number of non-EU migrants coming to Germany to seek gainful employment has tripled since 2011. According to Destatis, at the end of 2021, there were around 295.000 people who had a temporary residence permit for working - up from around 90.500 at the end of 2011.

The data shows that a big proportion of so-called third-country nationals are highly skilled: 24 percent were specialists who came to Germany with an EU Blue Card. This special type of residence permit, introduced in the EU in 2012 to help combat skilled worker shortages, is available to migrants with a firm offer of a job and a gross annual salary of at least 56.400 euros (or 43.992 euros in some highly-sought-after professions).

At the end of 2021, almost half (48 percent) of the people with a Blue Card were working in these so-called shortage professions, for example as doctors or in IT. 

The best-represented country among third-country nationals is India at 33,9 percent, followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina with 26,3 percent and Kosovo with 19,6 percent. Work-related immigration from EU countries has also increased: around 1,65 million EU citizens were working in Germany in 2021, 19 percent more than in 2017. Almost a quarter of EU immigrants are from Poland.  

Germany overhauling immigration policies to attract skilled workers

Struggling with a shortage of skilled workers, Germany has been making efforts in recent years to recruit professionals from overseas, for instance with the Skilled Immigration Act, which came into force in March 2020.

In future, the federal government is also planning a major overhaul of its immigration policies to help attract more workers. For instance, Blue Card salary requirements will in future be loosened for young people coming to Germany after completing their studies in higher education



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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