German Academic Exchange Service/Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) has advised German universities to increase their English language courses in order to attract more international students and address labour shortages.

Finding skilled labour is one of the nation’s most urgent tasks, according to Hubertus Heil, Germany’s minister of labour and social affairs.

He also indicated that there is a skills shortage in Germany while simultaneously attracting increasing numbers of students. He said:

  • We need to think about both developments together and show international students more effectively and in greater numbers the path to a professional career in Germany.
  • “They are highly qualified and well-integrated, and we should make more strategic use of their exciting potential as skilled workers in Germany.”

About the new skilled labour strategy: The country’s new skilled labour strategy, unveiled in September 2022, calls for the development of a contemporary immigration policy and cites foreign students as being “particularly attractive” for the German labour market.

  • “We should make more strategic use of their exciting potential as skilled workers.”

Attract more international students: In a new policy paper, DAAD sets out the obstacles preventing international students from entering Germany’s skilled labour market, including high dropout rates.

The organization calls for more action to be taken to increase the number of foreign students studying in the nation, boost their graduation rates, and assist them in making the transition from education to the workforce.

Politicians, academic institutions, and companies, according to DAA president,  Joybrato Mukherjee, all have a joint responsibility to see that this occurs.

  • DAAD advises that German language courses be added to English-taught courses in order to increase the number of international students that are enrolled.
  • Additionally, there needs to be an increase in the amount of digital information available regarding enrollment at German universities as well as the start of the process of integrating foreign students into the local labour market.
  • “Universities should design courses around the needs of employers and businesses should “systematically” consider international students in their recruitment processes”.

Welcoming IT workers to Germany: Currently, more than 50,000 international students complete their studies in Germany each year as earlier indicated, with about half of them enrolled in STEM programs, a field in high demand by employers.

Around one-third of them are still residing and working in Germany ten years after successfully completing their studies, which translates to about 25,000 foreign graduates joining the labour force each year as skilled workers.

If the appropriate steps are taken, according to the DAAD, this number might double by 2030.

Over 60% of international students, including those from Nigeria, obtained a study visa in 2015, and are still in the country. This makes Germany currently one of the leading OECD countries, together with Canada when it comes to keeping international students in the country.

To further strengthen the country’s retention of international students, German chancellor Olaf Scholz urged software and IT workers to consider moving to Germany in order to strengthen economic ties with the EU.

However, DAAD has indicated that it is aware of the risks associated with brain drain and fair migration principles, but policies should benefit both the country of origin and the host country.

What you should know: According to Germany’s most recent skilled labour survey, there may be more job openings as more than 50,000 foreign students each year complete their studies there. The survey shows that about 240,000 more open positions will be available in 2026 than there are workers to fill them.