Germans Get Government Incentives to Take Offers of Jobs Abroad     Print
Sunday, 13 April 2008

More news about Germany’s “new emigration”

The German government has started subsidizing moves by unemployed Germans to help them get to jobs they find abroad. Known as “mobility incentives,” these payments cover moving costs for workers and their families anywhere in the world.

The amounts range from 100 euro to around 1000 euro, depending on circumstances, and cover several separate items from actual travel to the cost of moving furniture or buying new furniture and other basic necessities.

Officials at the European Commission in Brussels told Reuters that they were unaware any of other EU country offering such help for moves abroad.

As reported by National Public Radio (April 16, 2008) and Forbes (April 15, 2008), this assistance has drawn mixed reactions in Germany. Some economists say it is a bad policy for a nation with a shrinking population and a comparatively low birth rate. Some critics describe it as a recipe for disaster because Germany already has a shortage of skilled labor that is now acute in some industries such as engineering and car-making and also looms in sectors such as retail sales, health care and finance. More generally, “depopulation” has become an issue in some areas, especially the formerly Communist east Länder. The funds are also available for relocations inside Germany.

So far, the number of beneficiaries has been limited, apparently in the hundreds. Officials in Germany were quoted saying that statistics were not yet available because the program is administered through local authorities, not the central government.

The German authorities apparently feel the program may prove a useful step in fighting unemployment which is in excess of 3.5 million people - about eight percent of the labor force (one percentage point higher than the eurozone average).

Related Post: The mobility initiative fits into a larger picture of a degree of  greater readiness among Germans to emigrate, which we noted here last week.