Notes de l'Ifri Notes du Cerfa
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Between Inertia and Openness. Germany Reforms Its Labor Immigration System Notes du Cerfa, No. 174, Ifri, July 2023

With its new Skilled Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) of 23 June 2023, Germany aims to become the country with "the most modern immigration law in Europe". A new points system and new entry rules for experienced workers having a degree from their home country demonstrate the willingness of the German government to open up its labor market to third-country nationals. While immigration law was already the subject of a previous reform in 2020, the new law is a real paradigm shift in Germany’s migration policy.

According to estimates by the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Training (IAB), a minimum of 400,000 workers a year will be needed if Germany is not to lose competitiveness.

However, changing the legal framework is not sufficient. Better concentration between the various administrative bodies involved and a less bureaucratic process are crucial to the success of the new act. In order to avoid negative repercussions on the countries of origin and better steer migratory flows, cooperation with third countries offers legal migration channels based on tailor-made agreements.


Jeanette SÜẞ is researcher at the Study Committee on Franco-German (Cerfa) at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), working in particular on the European Union and the Franco-German relations.


This publication is available in French: "Entre inertie et ouverture. L’Allemagne réforme son système d’immigration de travail" (PDF). 


Bureaucracy economic needs German Skilled Migration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) of June 23, 2023 Immigration immigration law skilled labor shortage tight jobs workers European Union Germany