International migration and sustainable integration is a major challenge, and it is also especially an opportunity for Germany and Hamburg. In recent years, the hanseatic city has shown that the state, the economy and civil society can jointly master the tasks involved. Even though the number of job vacancies and thus the demand for labor has fallen temporarily as a result of the Corona pandemic, the shortage of skilled workers remains acute, which is why there is a need for further orderly, qualified immigration from abroad. With the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz, FEG), the prerequisites have been created at federal level to place targeted and controlled labor market immigration as an independent second strong pillar alongside humanitarian immigration. Hamburg intends to make determined use of the new opportunities and to bring together all services for skilled workers and employers in one place in a joint welcome offer. At the new HWC, people with professional skills acquired abroad as well as companies receive support and guidance when hiring these people.
Interior Senator Andy Grote: "With the Hamburg Welcome Center, we have created a highly modern and powerful service structure to promote the targeted immigration of skilled workers who are structurally needed in many industries. Thanks to inter-agency cooperation, it is now possible to provide individualized, needs-based advice to skilled workers and employers. Hamburg is thus consistently continuing its successful path of quickly integrating people who come to us from abroad into the labor market in accordance with their qualifications."
All participating partners will draw on their proven competencies. In particular, the following services and resources, which were previously provided at different locations, will be bundled within the framework of inter-agency cooperation:
- The project W.I.R (work and integration for refugees), in which the Social Ministry, the Federal Employment Agency and the Job Center have been working together on across the board since 2015 to record the professional skills of refugees arriving in Hamburg and to promote their integration into the labor market.
- The service-oriented immigration office with a focus on professionals and executives, which was previously located at the Hamburg-Mitte district office under the name "Hamburg Welcome Center" and was permanently transferred to the Office for Migration (until December 31, 2020 Resident Central Office) on January 1, 2021.
- The visa office as well as the central unit of the Office for Migration for the implementation of the Accelerated Skilled Worker Procedure, which was introduced with the Skilled Worker Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) on March 1, 2020. This allows the entry procedures of skilled workers who have already found an employer in Hamburg, including the recognition of professional qualifications, to be coordinated and accelerated.
By combining these tasks organizationally and spatially, synergy effects are increased and access to the various support services offered by the respective procedural partners is synchronized. This creates transparency for the citizens concerned and increases the targeted quality of advice. At the same time, companies are also provided with a central point of contact for securing their own skilled labor needs.
Labor and Social Affairs Senator Dr. Melanie Leonhard: "Immigration is important for our city and our labor market. It makes Hamburg more diverse, more liveable and more innovative. Nevertheless, it is sometimes difficult to arrive, find a job and get started if you are not yet familiar with the German regulations. For all people who come to Hamburg and want to take up a job here, the Hamburg Welcome Center will in future be a contact point where all formalities can be dealt with under one roof. In addition, employers who want to hire skilled workers from abroad will receive competent advice on all the necessary procedures."
"Over the next seven years, more than 67,000 specialists and managers in Hamburg companies will retire because they are now 60 years old or older," says Sönke Fock, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hamburg Employment Agency, describing the current situation on the Hamburg labor market. "This gap cannot be filled by domestic graduates or trainees. Therefore, it is a matter of course for us as an employment agency to support the regional and international recruitment of skilled workers for Hamburg as a location also in the HWC. At the same time, it is also important to professionally strengthen the potential of employees in the companies. To this end, we inform, advise and support employees and companies alike."
Dirk Heyden, Managing Director of Jobcenter team.arbeit.hamburg, is also convinced by the offer: "Refugees who come to Hamburg want to stand on their own two feet as quickly as possible and find a job. For this to succeed, these people need a central point of contact to help them get their bearings in their new lives. The Hamburg Welcome Center bundles various counseling services under one roof and accompanies the refugees from an assessment of their skills and subsequent language and further training to entry into qualified work. For the Jobcenter, a future focus will lie particularly on educators with skilled labor potential."
The HWC started operations at its new location in Hammerbrook (Heidenkampsweg, corner of Süderstraße) at the beginning of January 2021. Due to the Corona pandemic, personal consultations are currently only possible by prior appointment. For this purpose and for further information, the HWC can be reached by phone at 040 42839 5555 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.