Most Americans are aware that immigration is as significant an issue for European countries as it is been for the United States. Germany, France and the United Kingdom have recently struggled with the mass arrival of “refugees” from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In addition, like the United States, the nations of Europe are struggling to integrate large numbers of immigrants who were admitted over the last few decades but who have been reluctant to join mainstream society in their adopted homelands.
In an attempt to address these issues, Deutsche Welle news is reporting that Germany has recently announced it will be implementing a merit-based immigration system modeled on that used by Canada. The new law prioritizes admission for would-be, non-European-Union immigrants who can speak German, possess job skills currently needed to advance the German economy and have a “concrete job offer.” Like Canada, Germany will rank prospective migrants based on their levels of education, job training, language ability and financial stability.
Referring to immigrants from outside the European Union, the current coalition government has blatantly stated, in its Masterplan Migration, “We do not want any immigration from unqualified third-country nationals.” One would expect such acknowledgements to reassure German workers troubled by the recent influx of job-seeking migrants since 2015. However, as Reuters reports, the new plan, “risks angering those voters who already feel neglected following the arrival of more than a million refugees since 2015.” This is because, “the government will no longer insist that companies give preference to German citizens in filling vacancies before looking for non-EU foreigners.”
In addition, the plan fails to address Germany’s overly generous refugee and asylum policies, which have remained controversial among citizens of the Federal Republic. As Deutsche Welle notes, the current plan reiterates that “those who have a legal right to claim asylum under German law will still be able to do so.”
It remains to be seen whether merit-based immigration will help restore order to the overly-stressed German migration system. And only time will tell whether German political leaders will handle future refuge crises more effectively – or simply declare virtually open borders as they did in 2015. Nevertheless, the new Masterplan Migration represents a desperately needed attempt to inject an element of reason into an immigration debate that, much like the immigration debate in the U.S., has been too frequently marked by emotion, hyperbole and political pandering.