The European Union Member States are facing a shortage of workers, in particular in highly skilled fields like healthcare and IT, as well as in fields like agriculture and construction.
In order to tackle this problem, the authorities of each Member State are taking new measures, at a national level, in addition to measures taken at the EU level, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Since January 1, these countries have either introduced or warned of new changes set to be applied soon regarding rules for coming to their national territory and working in specific fields, including here changes like easing application rules and extending the validity of residence permits.
Following, we have briefly listed and explained these changes in each.
German Govt to Reform Its Skilled Workers Act
The German government has been working for some time now to reform its immigration policies, in a bid to make it easier for foreign workers to move to Germany, in particular, those who have the expertise in fields that Germany desperately needs in order to keep its economy strong.
In 2023, Germany is intensively working to reform its three-year-old Skilled Workers Act and has already warned about the changes that it is planning to make to this law, through which in 2021, 50,000 third-country citizens have moved to the country.
Amongst others, through the new amendments, Germany’s Blue Card will become accessible for a higher number of specialists who hold a university degree.
It will also enable non-EU citizens to move to Germany for work purposes without having to go through procedures for formal recognition of their degree and professional qualification, and in cases when they want to do so, they will be able to complete the procedure upon arrival in Germany and not from outside.
Moreover, foreigners who have not secured a contract with an employer in Germany, might in the future have the chance to get a one-year valid residence permit in order to move to Germany and search for a job while there.
Short-term employment will also become possible in specific cases according to the needs of employers in Germany.
Slovenia to Amend Aliens Act for Workers Through Urgent Procedure
Another country planning to introduce facilitations for foreign workers is Slovenia. Last week, the Slovenian government submitted a draft law with the proposed changes for working in this country to the National Assembly for review under an urgent procedure.
Through the proposed amendments, the government wants to make it possible for third-country citizens to get residence permits and registration certificates through quicker procedures, as well as to offer all those intending to move to Slovenia free language courses.
In addition, the country plans to start issuing residence permits and extensions by mail and to initiate the storing of fingerprints for a period of up to five years, in order for the same to be used for renewals of permits.
There will be several more facilitations introduced, including removing the requirement to submit a written confirmation by the administrative unit when changing employers.
Updated List of Professionals Denmark is Looking for & New Working Holiday Quota for Chile & Argentina
Since January 1, 2023, Denmark has updated the list of professionals that it needs in order to fill in vacant jobs in the country.
There are two lists. The first is the Positive List for People with a Higher Education which contains 40 job titles for professions which are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers in the country. The second list, which consists of 36 job titles, is called the Positive List for Skilled Work.
In addition, Denmark has announced it will grant 75 residence permits through the Danish Working Holiday program for citizens of Chile and Argentina, which will be open from March 1 to August 31, 2023.
The permits will be granted on a first-come, first-served principle.
Italy Increases Work Permit Quota for 2023 & Simplifies Employment Rules for Foreign Workers
Italy has increased the work permit quota for foreign unskilled workers and startup visa applicants from third countries to 82,705 for 2023, an increase of 7,000 more than last year, and 12,000 more than in 2021.
This will be the last year that the government sets the quota annually, as starting from now, the quotas will be set every three years.
The Italian government has also introduced several changes to the laws on foreign workers in the country, which amongst others have also simplified the start of the employment relationship of foreigners with Italian companies, while also speeding up the procedure for granting the no impediment document for subordinate work for seasonal needs.
At the same time, the changes determine that companies in agricultural fields hiring agricultural workers will have priority over new applicants from other fields.
Finland to Speed Up Processing of Residence Permit Applications for Foreign Workers
Finland has cut the processing time of residence permit applications filed by foreign workers who have accepted a job in the country to around a month. The new change will affect all applications, including those filed before this law came into force at the end of February.
The authorities have also automated the application procedures, for both employees and employers.
The latter will be responsible for checking the professional skills of the employee, as foreign workers will no longer be required to submit as many documents on their professional skills, as before.
And finally, the Immigration Service had decided that the period of validity of a travel document will no longer affect the duration of the permit, which means that as long as a foreign worker has a valid document, the authorities will make a decision on their application.
Estonia: New Minimum Amount of Financial Means for Foreign Workers
Last week, the Estonian government has announced that it will increase the minimum fund requirement for primary applicants registering for short-term employment under the national D Visa.
This means that short-term employment registration applicants will be required to show proof of sufficient funds of at least €1,200 in savings per month or a monthly salary of the same amount when applying for Estonia’s D Visa.
Those wishing to move to Estonia to work in start-up companies or as seasonal workers will be required to prove a lower amount of money, of at least €800 when applying for a visa.
The country will also be introducing the requirement of at least A2 level Estonian language knowledge requirement starting from July 2023. Exempt from this requirement will be applicants for an EU Blue Card, applicants for a temporary residence permit for employment as academic staff, and applicants for an intra-corporate transferee.
Bulgaria to Facilitate Rules for Getting a Blue Card
Bulgaria has removed the requirement to have higher education qualifications in order to obtain a Blue Card to work in this country. The changes have been approved by the National Assembly of Bulgaria during a second reading in January.
The decision was taken after the authorities asserted that companies in the sector of information technology are currently subject to a shortage 40,000 to 50,000 IT specialists.
Changes for Foreign Workers Introduced by Other EU Countries
Other EU countries have also introduced changes for working in their territory for third-country citizens.
On January 27, Ireland has signed a statement of intent with the United States to extend the US-Ireland Working Holiday/Intern Work and Travel Programme for another five years.
The program permits Irish students and recent graduates to spend up to a year living and working in the US, while at the same time, it permits US students and recent graduates to move to Ireland to work there for up to a year.
Whereas Spain has revealed that 100 people from Senegal will be able to move and work in the Spanish territory during the harvest season, starting from April 2023. If the scheme results successful, Spain hopes to arrange a similar agreement with Morocco. The latter sends around 15,000 seasonal workers to Spain each year.