1.11.2005 | Von:
Dr. Holger Kolb

Conclusion – future prospects

The success or failure of the Green Card should be viewed in a broader context and not judged solely by the number of Green Cards awarded.

Likewise, it should be measured by the public debate concerning immigration politics in Germany and on the basis of the recently adopted Immigration Act.

The Green Card has undoubtedly improved the competitiveness of SMEs within the ICT sector. It is also clear that the introduction of the Green Card triggered a wide public debate concerning questions of immigration, which very likely contributed to the passing of the new immigration law. The new law, which took effect on 1 January 2005 [1], provides for an unlimited residence permit for highly qualified workers and their families. Like the Green Card, the law offers students who graduate from a German university the possibility to find a post in Germany within the first year following the completion of their degree.

Critics of the legislation concerning labour migration within the Immigration Act argue that a so-called "points system", which is applied in Canada, for example, would have been substantially more promising. In accordance with this system, points are awarded on the basis of the qualifications and skills of the applicant. This system allows for a flexible and non-bureaucratic reaction to labour market shortages. The Green Card was intended to accommodate a sector-specific shortage, and a general points system as a part of the new Immigration Act would have served as a worthy successor to the Green Card concept. Nevertheless, the Green Card, which was halted at the end of 2004, contributed to the further development of immigration legislation in Germany.


The Act to Control and Restrict Immigration and to Regulate the Residence and Integration of EU Citizens and Foreigners (Immigration Act) entered into force on 1 January 2005, although some parts took effect on 1 September 2004.



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