The labour shortfall in Germany and the UK has been increasing as they need 400,000 immigrants per year and 90,000 lorry drivers, respectively.

The labour shortage in Germany and the UK deepens as the officials and industry experts warn against the long-standing problem.

The head of Germany’s national labour agency said that the country needed more immigrants to meet workforce demand in light of the ageing population.

Federal Labor Agency Chairman Detlef Scheele said in Tuesday’s edition of the daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he expects the number of working-age people in Europe’s biggest economy to decline by nearly 150,000 this year.

“In the coming years, it will be much more dramatic,” the paper quoted him as saying.

“This is not about asylum, but about targeted immigration for the gaps in the labour market,” Scheele underlined the importance of immigration for the German economy.

“We need 400,000 immigrants per year, so significantly more than in recent years,” Scheele said. “From nursing care via climate technicians to logisticians and academics, there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere.”

83 million people live in Germany. In 2020, The number of foreign nationals living in the country increased by around 204,000 that is 1.8 percent more than the previous year. 

However, last year’s increase in the number of foreign people was the lowest growth rate in a decade.

Scheele’s comments come less than a month before Germany’s next national election, which will be held on September 26, as politicians worry about a new refugee influx in Europe after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Although the country initially welcomed immigrants from Syria in 2015, the situation turned back over the years. Anti-immigrant sentiment helped the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) to be the largest opposition party in the German parliament, the Bundestag.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party, which is the biggest opposition party in the outgoing parliament, assailed Scheele’s “incomprehensible demand.” Lawmaker Rene Springer accused him of “making himself a mouthpiece for companies that want to push down wages further with the help of immigration.”

Asked about political resistance to more immigration, particularly since a large number of refugees and other migrants arrived starting in 2015, he said: “You can stand up and say ‘We don’t want foreigners,’ but that doesn’t work.”

90,000 shortfall of truck drivers in the UK

Representatives of retail and transport industries in the United Kingdom have jointly written a statement to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarten demanding solutions for the lorry driver shortage.

By underlining the predicament of supply chains, which is getting worse day by day, the statement demands to review the decision of not granting temporary work visas to European drivers and better training.

Two companies representing freight and retail firms said that Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic to lure them back

In the letter, the shortfall of HGV drivers is about 90,000 and it "is placing increasingly unsustainable pressure on retailers and their supply chains."

"While there was a shortage of HGV drivers prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, these two events have exacerbated the situation,” the letter wrote.

"The pandemic halted driver training and testing for over 12 months, while an estimated 25,000 EU drivers returned home during the pandemic and following the end of the transition period."

Source: TRT World