Sociologist warns of the Brain Drain Impact of Germany’s Migration Centres in Africa

In a recent announcement, Germany revealed its plan to establish migrant centres in five African countries. The move aims to offer a select category of Africans the chance to settle on German soil. While the new migration policy is welcomed by some, it also risks taking away vital talent from several African countries.

The policy of bringing skilled labour into Germany has grown in recent years through a “welcoming culture.” Germany has been able to integrate many migrants, especially refugees, with this policy. The proposed centres would ease rules for skilled foreign workers even further. Germany hopes to balance its ageing population and finance the pension system by bringing in skilled workers. This comes at a time when there is a current shortage of skilled workers in the country.

The new fast-track procedure for skilled labour simplifies the recruitment of qualified foreign workers. It allows employers to apply for recognition of foreign qualifications to facilitate the visa application of a recruited worker. The country’s Federal Employment Agency will no longer check whether the candidate is from Germany or the EU for the specific position.

However, the policy’s reception is far from motivated by simple humanitarian reasons. Immigration provides solutions to demographic and economic problems in Germany, as in many other European countries. The need for skilled workers is so great that Germany has adopted several new reception policies.

Sociologist Aly Tandian, in an interview with Assane Diagne of The Conversation Africa, explained that while Germany’s new migration policy may seem beneficial to the country, it could have a negative impact on African countries. The policy encourages brain drain – the exit of skilled people from African countries. This form of skilled labour migration should be rethought and supervised on both sides.

According to him, the policy can lead to a loss of skills, ideas, and innovation. It also causes a loss of investment in education, tax revenue, and crucial services in the health and education sectors. Ghana is one of the African countries Germany is targeting, but it is in dire need of a skilled workforce.

The policy of skilled recruitment in the global south by countries of the global north creates a situation where countries of origin are incubators where experts are born, educated, and trained before they leave for other destinations.

Tandian recommends that African countries must have their migration agenda and encourage the mobility of skilled experts supported by circular migration. With circular migration, it will be possible for skilled experts to work in several countries on a rotational basis while enjoying rigorous protection. Circular migration serves the labour market needs of destination countries, promotes development in countries of origin, and benefits the migrants themselves, making it a “triple win.”

He further added that countries like Germany and France must reevaluate the policy of skilled recruitment policy. Agreements should be signed between states and a rigorous framework that benefits workers, employers, and states would avoid making foreign workers less precarious.

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