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Background


1.11.2005
The Green Card initiative arose from complaints made by trade associations like BITKOM (German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media) over the lack of ICT specialists.
Ein Bewerber aus Indien füllt das Formular für eine US-Arbeitserlaubnis ausApplicant filling out the form for a work permit in the US. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

Even individual corporations and lobbying agencies from this sector, such as Initiative D21 [1], noted a scarcity of specialised personnel (D21, for example, is run by the former CEO of IBM Germany, Erwin Staut). The lack of specialised labourers could, according to the argument, jeopardise the innovative and competitive capability of this rapidly growing sector in Germany. According to estimates from the Cologne Institute for Business Research (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, IW), 50,000 to 75,000 job vacancies were supposed to be filled by ICT specialists in the short term. BITKOM further claimed that the scarcity of highly qualified personnel was a fundamental impediment to the future sustainable development of the sector.

Against the background of this discussion, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced the Green Card programme rather unexpectedly during the international computer trade show "CeBIT 2000" in Hanover. It was intended to be one initiative within a complete technology-specific package which was aimed at improving education and training conditions in Germany. The Green Card, however, triggered a heated debate concerning labour migration and the necessity for reforms to German immigration legislation.


Fußnoten

1.
D21 is Germany's largest public private partnership, with over 400 representatives from political parties, enterprises and associations. The aim of their work is to create the general conditions necessary to transform Germany into an information and knowledge society, with a view to making the country more internationally competitive.

 

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