The German government stated Wednesday that it would relax entry rules for non-EU immigrants to meet Germany’s skilled worker demand.

Experts believe Europe’s largest economy requires approximately 400,000 skilled migrants each year to replace the shrinking workforce, especially in the construction and IT sectors.

Robert Habeck, Economy Minister, said that Germany’s ambitious plans to increase the use of renewable energy threaten by a shortage of workers.

“We knew for years we were going to have a population problem, but nothing was done,” he said to reporters in Berlin.

Cabinet approved a draft that would allow would-be immigrants to the EU to have their skills and qualifications recognized. It would also lower bureaucratic hurdles, such as language requirements, for certain IT sectors.

Hubertus Heil, the Labor Minister, said that Germany should not only offer more language training overseas but also show more of its skills if it wants other countries to be able to compete for skilled workers.

“We have a lot to offer, and we have great jobs, so we need to strengthen that image abroad,” he stated, adding that Germany is keen to be seen as a cosmopolitan country that welcomes immigrants.

Before lawmakers pass a bill to change immigration law, they must debate the proposal in parliament.

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