In 2024, the global economy is grappling with skill shortages, a critical phenomenon where the available workforce’s skills do not align with employers’ needs, leading to unfilled job openings and impeding economic growth and productivity. This comprehensive guide explores how nations such as Japan, Germany, Denmark, Chile, Ireland, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and North America are tackling these challenges.
Why Skill Shortages are faced?
Skill shortages arise from factors like rapid technological change, globalization, demographic shifts, mismatches in education and training, inadequate job mobility, and restrictive immigration policies. These elements contribute to a workforce that often lacks the necessary skills for evolving job markets, impacting sectors like IT, Healthcare, Robotics, and more.
This article delves into the specific sectors facing shortages in each country and outlines their unique immigration programs designed to bridge this critical gap in the labor market.
Japan is experiencing skill shortages in various sectors due to its aging population and rapid technological advancements. Key areas of shortage include Information Technology, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Construction, Professional Services, Transportation, Eldercare, Education and Training, Robotics, and Automation.
To facilitate the immigration of skilled workers, Japan offers programs such as the Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program and the Highly Skilled Professionals (HSP) Program, along with other initiatives like the J-Skip Visa and Future Creation Individual Visa (J-Find Visa). These programs provide benefits like quick visa processing, pathways to residency, tax exemptions, and flexible visa status for specific professional categories (Educads.com).
Germany has introduced a new ‘opportunity card’ using a points-based system to ease the immigration of workers with the required skills. This is part of a broader strategy to address labor shortages in various sectors, including skilled craftspeople, electrical engineers, IT specialists, carers, nurses, and professionals in catering, hospitality, and manufacturing.
The new immigration policies in Germany are designed to facilitate the arrival of professionals with job experience and qualifications recognized in their native countries. This includes provisions for EU Blue Card pathways for IT professionals lacking formal education but with relevant job experience. Additionally, the duration to acquire permanent residence has been shortened for skilled workers and EU Blue Card holders (Euronews.com, Fragomen.com).
Denmark is facing a shortage of professionals in science, engineering, healthcare, teaching, IT, and finance. The country has a Positive List for People with Higher Education and a Skilled Workers list, including a range of industries and roles. Denmark has also made it easier for companies to recruit third-country nationals by lowering the pay threshold and offering fast-track certification for employers. International students in Denmark are now granted a three-year job search period following graduation, allowing them to seek employment without needing a separate residence permit (Euronews.com).
Chile is experiencing skill shortages in sectors like Agriculture and Forestry, Mining and Engineering, Renewable Energy, Information Technology, Healthcare, and Tourism and Hospitality. The country has streamlined its work visa programs to attract foreign talent. These include the “Subject-to-Contract” Visa, Temporary Resident Visa, Chile Work Visa, Temporary Residence Visa for Job Search (Visa SUJE), Subclass Work Visas for professionals and skilled technical workers, and Temporary Residence Visa with 16 subcategories including permits for international workers, investors, managers, directors, or specialized personnel.
Ireland offers several work visa options to address labor shortages. The two main work visas are the Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly skilled workers and the General Employment Permit, covering a wide range of jobs. Ireland is actively seeking migrant workers to fill vacancies in sectors experiencing significant shortages. The country also offers a working holiday visa to citizens of certain countries between the ages of 18 and 35.
Portugal has introduced a short-term visa for workers intending to stay in the country for only one season. This visa allows workers to stay and work in Portugal for a maximum period of nine months and permits working for more than one company, as long as it’s for a seasonal job. Longer-term work visas in Portugal depend on the profession and are valid for one to two years.
Australia offers work visas like the Skilled Independent Visa and the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, which allow foreign workers to fill skill gaps in the Australian labor market. The country’s points-based immigration system provides opportunities for skilled professionals to immigrate.
8# New Zealand Skill Shortages
New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category visa is designed for individuals with in-demand skills and qualifications. The country also offers work visas for entrepreneurs, investors, and individuals with job offers from New Zealand employers.
The UAE offers various work visa options, including the Employment Visa for foreign nationals to work for a UAE-based employer and the long-term Residence Visa for investors, entrepreneurs, and specialized talents.
10# North America Skill Shortages
- Canada: Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs
- United States: EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver), EB-3 Skilled Workers, H-1B Specialty Occupations
Singapore: Tech.Pass, EntrePass, Employment Pass