On June 27, 2024, LaMP Germany hosted an interactive workshop with representatives from employer associations, recruiters, migration program experts, and key German ministries. This diverse group explored innovative approaches to cost and risk sharing among all stakeholders in the labor mobility process. 

The workshop was conducted with German stakeholders as the country is feeling the pinch of labor shortages, with many sectors experiencing high vacancy rates. Demographic shifts, particularly an aging population and a limited pool of younger workers, have exacerbated the challenge of finding local talent. This scenario opens up significant opportunities for hiring from abroad. 

However, international recruitment comes with its own set of hurdles, including lengthy visa processes, complex recruitment systems, and higher costs for employers. A major challenge is the German language proficiency required for traineeships or skilled work, which necessitates extensive and expensive training (averaging 9 months and costing between EUR 2,000 – 4,000 to achieve B1/B2 levels). 

While various pilot projects in Germany have subsidized language training, there is no long-term initiative capable of supporting such training on a large scale. To establish a sustainable influx of foreign workers to fill critical vacancies, we must address the following pivotal questions: 

  • Who should bear the cost of German language training, and at which stage in the process? 
  • How can we fairly distribute the financial risks of these investments among all actors, including workers, language schools, recruiters, and employers? 
  • What are the key differences in the recruitment processes for skilled workers versus trainees? 
  • How can we finance recruitment systems that are both fair and sustainable? 

The group delved into several critical areas, including: 

  • Innovative solutions to overcome financial challenges. 
  • Practical strategies beyond policy to remove blockers. 
  • Ways to address the issue of time and the unpredictability of bureaucratic process timelines. 
  • Financing recruitment adjacent costs such as language training and other unforeseen expenses. 
  • Supporting small and medium-sized businesses in their foreign recruitment efforts. 
  • Creating additionality and democratizing access to international employment opportunities. 
  • Enhancing the integration of foreign workers to achieve higher retention rates, (e.g. addressing technicalities of the EPP as potential retention blockers). 

For more information on LaMP’s initiatives in Germany regarding financial solutions for labor mobility, and to learn about our broader vision for supporting transnational skills partnerships and sustainable recruitment systems, please reach out to Sophia Wolpers at swolpers@lampforum.org.