Bundesminister Peter Altmaier mit den Mitgliedern der Arbeitsgruppe "Fachkräfte" des Mittelstandsbeirates des BMWi

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Today’s meeting of the SME Advisory Board saw business representatives discussing ways to tackle Germany’s skills shortage with Minister Altmaier . According to the Federal Employment Agency, almost 784,000 vacancies were reported in February 2019.

Minister Altmaier was impressed by the efforts being made by the SMEs: “The high level of personal effort displayed by the directors of SMEs in particular when it comes to training and employing foreign skilled workers and to integrating refugees is amazing. We want to support this via the new Skilled Immigration Act and to facilitate access to Germany’s labour market for people with vocational qualifications. The German economy doesn’t just need graduates!”

The members of the SME Advisory Board handed Minister Altmaier a catalogue of demands including systematic help with teaching German and preparations for dual vocational training whilst people are still abroad. Other demands include faster visa issuing procedures, greater legal certainty for companies training and employing refugees, and a right for well-integrated refugees to remain in Germany irrespective of their status. Minister Altmaier expressed understanding for the majority of the demands. From 2020, there is to be a one-stop-shop providing expert advice to SMEs at www.make-it-in-germany.com. This central Federal Government website offers qualified professionals from abroad and SMEs all the information they need about the migration to Germany of skilled labour, compiled in an easy-to-understand way.

The SME Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been advising the various Economic Affairs Ministers on all SME-related issues of economic policy since 1956. You can find out more about the current membership of the SME Advisory Board and the latest proposals regarding skilled workers here.