Germany’s Merit-Based Immigration Plan

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.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Wrong picture. Should show the luxury apartments, and homes, Germany confiscated from its citizens to give to migrants.

  2. avatar

    FredK.. Merkel must go! Not next week,, but to-day. Her aim is to destroy Germany and its peoples

  3. avatar

    We’re All Afraid of Hurting Feelings Over OVERPOPULATION Curses

    Its called tough love, start being honest again and admit it. That was what Earthday was all about in 1970 anyway. Thank you Martin Luther King Jr for supporting Earthday and defending defeating OVERPOPULATION.

  4. avatar

    It seems like western Europe has decided to commit cultural suicide. For many years the authorities in Rotherham England ignored the sexual assaults of hundreds of young girls and teens by Pakistani “grooming gangs” because the authorities and police were afraid of being accused of racism. So said an official investigation by Parliament.

    On the other hand Italy and Eastern Europe have said no, we refuse to turn our countries over to people who hate us and want to change our way of life. They told Merkel what she could do with her demand that other countries take “their share” of the people she told to come to Germany without limit.