The German "Green Card" is among the most fiercely disputed topics within the broader immigration debate in Germany.
Introduced in August 2000, its goal was to provide a non-bureaucratic means of bringing foreign experts (non-EU/ EEA
The success of the Regulation on Work Permits for Highly Qualified Foreign Labourers in Information and Communication Technology (IT/ArGV), or the so-called "Green Card", has generally been a rather contentious issue. Critics primarily refer to the low number of foreign ICT expert recruits as an indicator that Germany is lagging behind in the worldwide competition to acquire the best minds, the so-called "war for talent".
To measure the success or failure of the Green Card based upon the number of hired skilled labourers would not, however, do justice to the actual outcome of this initiative. For instance, it served to initiate a public debate around the necessity for labour migration. A public examination of immigration in terms of skilled labourers with a particular specialisation and limited length of stay seemed more likely in the midst of high unemployment in Germany. A public debate, albeit controversial and emotionally guided, was also especially important for the implementation of a new immigration law. Thus, the Green Card aided in paving the way for the Immigration Act
Secondly, the Green Card enabled small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the ICT sector to significantly improve their competitive edge against the market´s leading global players.
Dr. Holger Kolb is a researcher at the University of Osnabrück's Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS).