Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Germany is now more attractive than UK for foreign professionals ---> due to Germany's new liberal immigration policy (while UK begins to close its doors?)

From the link: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/nri/working-abroad/liberal-immigration-policy-berlin-could-soon-become-more-attractive-than-london-for-young-indians/articleshow/12034647.cms

The perception of Germany is changing. From a land of engineering and football to an education and employment destination. Germany's attraction for the 22-year-old engineer from Delhi is not just limited to high-quality technology education and research.

The country's living and working conditions are also a big draw. "Tuition fees are almost zero and there are many internship openings. My course is in English and on completion, I expect many opportunities to find a suitable job here," says Khurana. He is currently studying for a master's degree in communication engineering at Technical University of Munich.

Blue Card Advantage
Young Indians, both students and professionals, stand to gain a lot from two new Bills which the German government is looking at. The first one, introduced in December 2011, makes permanent residence (PR) for highly skilled professionals from overseas much easier by lowering the minimum annual income for a PR permit from 66,000 euro to 48,000 euro.

Overseas students, too, will gain under the new Bill with unrestricted access to the labour market and no minimum income requirement. While those engaged in academic research would have a simplified procedure for temporary residence, their family members will get the right to unrestricted gainful employment.

In addition, Germany has also revived the idea of the EU Blue Card, which will facilitate the entry of highly qualified non-EU nationals and their families into the EU countries. The Blue Card will further lower the minimum income requirements to 44,000 euro and 33,000 euro in specific jobs such as mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, IT and medicine.

"It is expected that the proposed legislation will be passed without any major changes and become a law this year. Germany welcomes top-qualified professionals from abroad, in particular engineers, computer specialists and doctors," the acting German ambassador in Delhi, Meier Klodt, told ET on Sunday.

The easing of immigration rules for non-EU citizens is in keeping with Germany's record lows in unemployment and huge skills shortage, which is being seen as a big advantage for young Indian professionals. A recent survey by Germany's federal employment research agency, IAB, showed a total of 1.13 million positions vacant.

UK Closes Doors
But it's not just the German positives that are drawing Indians. What has highlighted the need for a new European hub for Indian immigrants is the UK's recent move to make immigration laws more stringent. There are many thousands of Indian students in the process of enrolling in colleges in the UK, who are a worried lot.

The UK is closing down its popular two-year post-study Tier-1 work visa for foreign students, from April 2012. Till 2010, student visa allocation in India, for the UK, declined by 6% and the UK Border Agency confirms that changes in the student visa rules will result in even fewer student visa applications in 2012. The post-study work visa helped many students from India to recover the high cost of education by working in UK after studies.
"The UK government's cap on skilled immigration has already done a lot of damage and now the decision to scrap the post-study leave to stay comes as a big blow," says Karan Bilimoria, a member of the British House of Lords and on the board of Cambridge University's Judge Business School. Experts fear that the number of applications to UK's institutions of higher education from India could go down by as much as 30% in 2012.

"In the UK, the possibility of landing a permanent job is minimal now. You will probably have to make 30-40 applications to get shortlisted for a couple of interviews. Without the post-study visa, one can't put in even a primary application," says Leena Tandon (name changed on request), who is doing an internship in London after finishing her post-graduation degree in communications.

Most of her classmates from India are doing the same hoping that the internship will get them an entry route into the UK job market. "From this year, international students will have to devote a lot of time to finding placements which provide a visa as soon as they finish their degree," she adds.

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