Thanks to Justin Stoler for linking me to an NPR story yesterday about Arab asylum seekers in Germany.
German officials have struggled with the arrival of a record number of refugees and asylum-seekers this year who are draining local resources and prompting calls for increased deportations. But German businesses and labor officials see an opportunity in these newcomers to ease a chronic shortage of skilled workers.
A frantic search for hires is common in Germany, says Herbert Brücker, an economist with the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg.
"We have shortages in the labor market," Brücker says. "My assessment is that asylum-seekers and refugees might be both an important resource for the labor market in the high-skilled segment as well as in the less-skilled segment, for example, in agriculture, in hotels and restaurants, in health care."This is what happens in a rich society with a low birth rate and substantial social welfare programs on the books--you need people to do the work. And, because of the general principal of migration selectivity, people who have a legitimate claim to legal status to be in the country are likely to have salable skills. Germany's future depends on these people, no matter how much Germans may say they don't want immigrants (and they do say that!). Sadly, this migrant drain is going to make it that much harder for Syria, Iraq and other countries in the Middle East to rebuild when (and I optimistically say when, not if) the violence ends.