Germany’s planned immigration reform is a “huge opportunity for companies,” according to Sebastian Dettmers, CEO of job board operator the StepStone Group.

Germany’s coalition government intends to enact a law to boost the immigration of skilled workers by removing hurdles and reducing the earnings requirement for the Blue Card. Similar to the Green Card in the U.S., the EU’s Blue Card is a work- and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals that it says “provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a path towards permanent residence and EU citizenship.”

Under the new law, skilled immigrants will no longer have to have their degrees recognized in Germany if they can show they have at least two years of professional experience and a degree that is recognized by the government in their home country. Moreover, anyone with a job offer will be able to come to Germany and start working before their degree has been recognized.

In a press release, Dettmers said: “The new law is an overdue step and a huge opportunity for companies. Not only politicians, but all of us urgently need to remove hurdles and not merely enable qualified immigrants to work in our country. Rather, we need to actively court skilled foreign workers, because, in the 21st century, unprecedented competition for immigration will begin. In order to survive in this competition, we need not only a modern immigration law but also a positive vision of the future to inspire a spirit of optimism.”

The press release also highlighted what it called Germany’s “depleted” labor market, stating that eight out of ten companies are losing production due to unfilled positions. A survey of 700 HR managers conducted by StepStone found that 83% of respondents said it was challenging to source enough candidates for open positions. 57% said this was a major obstacle to the development of their company.

According to additional StepStone market research, a majority of German employees (63%) believe that the immigration and integration of qualified foreign workers will be a key factor in filling future job openings. However, at the moment, only about 2% of job postings on Stepstone.de are written in English. IT jobs account for the biggest share of these (33%), followed by engineering and technology (20%) and managerial positions (9%).

StepStone said that the number of applications from abroad on it platform was around 13%, which most of them originating in Eastern Europe, India, Turkey and North Africa.

“Germany is still very popular as a destination country for foreign professionals — we must not jeopardize this under any circumstances. Businesses should now respond to the new law and make their recruiting even more international and accessible — by placing job ads in multiple languages or by companies explicitly pointing out when proficiency in German is not a requirement, for example, because there are more and more companies that have introduced English as a corporate language, including the Stepstone Group,” commented Dettmers.

Düsseldorf-headquartered StepStone is owned by media company Axel Springer. Apart from its eponymous site in Germany, StepStone owns AppCast in the U.S., and TotalJobs in the U.K.

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