Despite public opinion across Germany swaying against the liberal immigration policies of the recent past and present, prominent government officials are continuing to lobby in favor of mass immigration to address the country’s labor shortage.
Robert Habeck, Germany’s federal economics minister and Green Party member, has called for even more immigration, even as the country faces a housing crisis, overcrowding in education and healthcare, and a concerning rise in migrant crime.
Speaking to the Rheinische Post newspaper, Habeck claimed it was “obvious” that Germany remains “dependent on immigration,” insisting it remains necessary in order to “generate growth and secure prosperity.”
Habeck stated that companies across the country were “desperately” looking for more workers and claimed that a lack of available labor had resulted in trade and crafts companies being forced to turn down orders and restaurants having to restrict their opening hours.
“We urgently need more skilled workers and laborers. We all feel it in our everyday lives by now,” he said.
Habeck’s unpopular response to the perceived labor shortage is further liberalization of Germany’s visa system. The federal economics minister advocated the issuing of more work permits and lower thresholds to entice even more foreign nationals to head to Germany and revitalize its struggling economy.
“I know that there are reservations about it in some cases, and of course, it is absolutely clear that we need better controllability of who comes into the country, and that those who are not allowed to stay must leave again quickly. That’s indisputable to me,” Habeck said as he sought to caveat his response.
He claimed that further diplomatic work needed to be undertaken to ensure bilateral agreements on migrant returns were viable.
Majority of Germans want less immigration
Habeck’s remarks come at a time when the vast majority of German citizens have grown disillusioned with the liberal migration policies of the current and previous federal administrations.
An ARD-DeutschlandTrend poll published late last month revealed that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents wanted Germany to take in fewer immigrants with the same figure claiming that the country faces more disadvantages than advantages when it comes to immigration.
Vast majority of Germans turning sharply against immigration, according to new state-run media poll
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Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents believed the distribution and housing of migrants in the country is done either rather poorly or very poorly, compared with just 19 percent who considered this to be done well.
This shows an alarming drop in public support for the redistribution of migrants compared to five years ago when similar polling showed that 43 percent considered this area to be efficient.
The poll also revealed that 82 percent of Germans are in favor of increased border controls, while 69 percent believe that Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia should be designated as safe countries of origin in order to help facilitate deportations back to these nations.
Artificial Intelligence could displace tens of millions of jobs in Europe
There is no doubt that Germany, along with many other European countries, is facing a worker shortage in many fields. However, efforts so far to replace skilled German workers with immigrants have been a failure. Half of the migrants who arrived during the 2016 migrant crisis are still unemployed, and even for those employed, the majority of them receive pay so low that they are eligible for welfare benefits. Migrants have already cost tens of billions of euros for the German taxpayer, and in 2023 alone, the government estimates they will cost another €36 billion.
Furthermore, the Artificial Intelligence revolution continues apace. Investment bank Goldman Sachs reported that 300 million full-time jobs will vanish worldwide. According to a company survey by the World Economic Forum In the industrialized countries alone, it is expected that around one out of eight jobs will be lost by 2027 — specifically, that would be 83 million out of a total of 673 million.
Germany may go from a worker shortage to a glut of unemployed workers in the very near future. At the same time, the German government, which consists of the Greens, is pushing through generous welfare packages that encourage both Germans and migrants to not work.