Berlin: The number of temporary workers from countries outside the European Union (EU) registered in Germany has more than tripled over the past decade, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said.
The country had 295,000 non-EU workers in 2021, the most recent time that data is available, reports Xinhua news agency.
Altogether 33,900 of them were from India, or 11 per cent of all non-EU workers with a temporary residence permit in Germany.
Workers from China added up to 16,700, taking up 6 per cent, according to Destatis.
Almost one in four non-EU workers were academic specialists with a European “blue card”, according to Destatis.
This permit was introduced throughout the EU in 2012 to address the bloc’s shortage of highly qualified specialists. The prerequisites for a blue card include a university degree and a job offer with a gross annual salary of at least 56,400 euros ($57,500).
For occupational fields with a particularly severe shortage of skilled workers, such as medicine or IT, a lower minimum threshold of 43,992 euros gross applies.
By the end of 2021, almost half of the blue card holders working in Germany fell into this category, according to Destatis.
Germany plans to lower the income threshold for recent graduates applying for a blue card, said Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil and Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser.
“By so doing, we are making it easier for well-educated young people to start their careers in Germany.”
“We have to open the doors for those who have skills, who have professional experience,” the Ministers wrote in an op-ed for Handelsblatt newspaper.
Earlier this month, the German government approved further facilitation of labour migration in a legislative package that is yet to be adopted and ratified by Parliament. This includes simplified acquisition of the right to stay and easier access to integration courses.
Germany also saw an increase in workers from other EU countries last year, up 19 per cent from the initial 2017 survey to 1.65 million, according to Destatis.
Almost one in four came from Poland, followed by Romania and Italy.
In total, regardless of citizenship and current residence title, nearly 2.72 million people lived in Germany in 2021 “who immigrated primarily for work”, according to Destatis.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, skilled labour shortages in Germany have worsened in some industries including the hospitality and airline sectors.
Airports and airlines across Europe are currently struggling with flight cancellations and long waiting times for passengers.