Good morning, dear readers,
“If you want to understand the narrowness of your homeland, travel.” This recommendation comes from the writer Kurt Tucholsky. I have to admit: I have never felt Germany to be so narrow (frontal) as in the past few days, when I was thousands of kilometers away from my homeland.
What happened? I accompanied Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) on a trip to Canada, where both wanted to find out more about the country’s immigration policy.
What I saw there deeply depressed me. Everywhere we went – in companies, at a trade school, even in a restaurant – we saw how Canada is optimally positioned for the future. While Germany is about to gamble away its own.
Take Shreeram, a 33-year-old Indian man we met at a small company in Ottawa that specializes in technology products for the concrete industry. Shreeram is one of those workers that we in Germany are looking for like gold dust. Young, highly qualified, mobile and even with an affinity for Germany. He worked in Paderborn for a year. He considered staying permanently. Then he found out what bureaucratic hurdles he would have to overcome to do so. So he went to Canada. If he likes it, he wants to be naturalized. You can do that in Canada after three years. In Germany, this was previously possible after eight years at the earliest. Now it is to be shortened to five years.
I met an Egyptian in Canada, an executive in a Canadian company, who had just naturalized. With sparkling eyes and full of pride, he told of the solemn ceremony. At that moment I had to think of an Italian friend who had applied for German citizenship a few years ago. For twelve months, the authorities checked whether he, who was born in Germany and is a professor of medicine, can really become German. Then he got an appointment, had to take a waiting number and finally received the certificate. After all, the official wrestled a “Congratulations” from.
“Canada and Germany? That’s like comparing apples and oranges,” some will now shout. It is true that Canada’s success in immigration goes hand in hand with a very restrictive refugee policy. In addition, unlike Germany, thanks to a single external border, it can regulate the number of refugees very well.
It’s also true that a good immigration policy can only work if you get the impression that those who come stick to the rules. And that those who don’t do this have to leave the country again.
However, the belief that this alone accounts for Canada’s success is wrong. “It’s the spirit, stupid!” one would like to call out to the can’t-be-compared critics. While Germany is still debating whether it really wants to be an immigration country, Canada has been doing a great deal for decades to successfully integrate those it wants to have in the country.
In Canada, today’s foreigners are seen as tomorrow’s valuable citizens. In Germany often as the social parasites of tomorrow.
“We’re not asking where are you from? We’re asking what can you contribute?” the CEO of a power transmission company in Toronto told us. That sums up the difference. In Canada, a diversity of cultures is seen as an enrichment, in Germany very often as a threat.
A look at the forecasts shows how fatal this attitude is: in 2035 we could be short of up to seven million skilled workers because the baby boomers will then have retired. It is therefore high time to clear up a few life lies:
- If Germany wants to maintain its prosperity, it must define itself as a country of immigration and consistently pursue this goal. This includes a strategy that must be supported and lived out jointly by politics, business and the population.
- It is not the highly qualified specialists who have to be thankful if they are “allowed to work” in Germany. Rather, we must be thankful when they choose us. Otherwise, in times of globalization, they choose a country that is more grateful. Canada for example.
- Anyone who comes as a skilled worker must have the prospect of becoming a fully-fledged part of this society. With all rights and obligations. The calculation that workers were temporarily brought into the country as needed and then left again did not work out for the so-called guest workers of the years of the economic boom. Much less today.
- The new immigration law, which will be approved by the cabinet next week, is a first step. But it’s not enough. If bureaucracy is not massively and quickly reduced at the same time, for example for companies that recruit foreign specialists, we will be wasting further decades.
More than 400,000 immigrants came to Canada in 2022, a record. At the same time, popular support for immigration policy remains unbroken. The Canadian government has just announced a series of initiatives to further increase the number of immigrants.
One of the most recent pilot projects: Canada sends “scouts” to refugee camps to recruit potential specialists there. They are given the opportunity to apply as “economic immigrants”.
For Germany, all of this means that the lead that countries like Canada have when it comes to recruiting skilled workers can no longer be made up. But we should do everything we can to ensure that it doesn’t get any bigger.
The chapter Julian Nagelsmann is over at Bayern, Thomas Tuchel is to become his successor. The timing of the change of coach is only surprising at first glance, comments our FC Bayern reporter Julian Buhl. Statements from the Bayern bosses are expected for today.
This attack shook Great Britain: In March 2018, the Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal, who lives in British exile in Salisbury, and his daughter were victims of a poison attack, which both barely survived. 44-year-old British woman Dawn Sturgess was less fortunate, as she accidentally came into contact with a discarded bottle containing the nerve agent. The preliminary hearing into Sturgess’ death begins today in London.
90 years ago today the “Law to eliminate the need of people and empire“ in force. It went down in the history books as “Hitler’s Enabling Act”, as a constitutional amendment that sealed the end of the Weimar Republic and paved the way for the Nazi dictatorship.
During the Cold War, the Iron Curtain ran right through Germany, the new one stretches further east: Poland is massively arming itself against the Russian threat, as is Ukraine. Only Germany does not yet seem to want to accept the new reality. Read the article by my colleague Marc von Lüpke here.