A missed opportunity for integration and securing skilled workers: The new Family Reunification Act

A missed opportunity for integration and securing skilled workers: The new Family Reunification Act

This article “A missed opportunity for integration and securing skilled workers: The new Family Reunification Act” 

has been also published on LinkedIn on March 14th 2024

A missed opportunity for integration and securing skilled workers: The new Family Reunification Act

The recently passed law on family reunification, which offers parents of skilled workers and highly qualified individuals the opportunity to come to Germany, raises more questions than it answers.

Here is the text of the law from the BAMF website:

“As parents or parents-in-law of skilled workers and highly qualified persons, you have the opportunity to come to Germany if your child’s or child-in-law’s residence permit was issued for the first time on or after March 1, 2024. To do so, you must be able to secure your livelihood, including adequate health and long-term care insurance cover, from your own financial resources.”

As an Expat consultant who deals with many Expats, mostly IT and automotive specialists from India on a daily basis, I ask myself a few questions and would like to delegate it to those responsible:

– Who came up with this?

– How short-term is it?

– Why was it not thought through to the end?

Let’s take a more holistic approach to the issue :

According to the IDW, we had a skills shortage of 533,000 people in December 2023.

What are we doing about it?

We are sending German chancellors, ministers, delegations and business representatives to India to recruit skilled workers in the STEM and care sectors.

The “Come to Germany!” advertisement is plastered all over Indian cities to attract skilled workers to Germany and the “Make it in Germany” initiative is also advertising at great financial expense.

But one thing has been forgotten:

We currently have around 241,000 Indians in Germany. And the trend is rising sharply. 28% of all Bluecards go to Indians.

83.6% of Indians who had a Blue Card 5 years ago are currently still in Germany, 59.9% of whom now have a permanent residence permit and 11.3% have opted for German citizenship.

Now the problem:

In India, “family” has a different meaning than here in Germany. As a child, you look after your parents, especially as health insurance and old-age pensions are often not available or sufficient.

In practice, I see time and again that an engineer or IT consultant who has actually planned his future with his family in Germany has to go back to India because he is the only son, or his wife is the only daughter, taking care of parents or parents-in-law.


Because they feel responsible to give back their share to the people who gave them the opportunity to study and thus live in a developed country in Europe with all its advantages and disadvantages.

And suddenly we lose a high-performing family of highly qualified professionals, in which two people have worked full-time for several years, completed their second Master’s degree on the side, in parallel raising 1-2 children (without the support of their grandparents) and have made maximum contributions to our social security system.

At the same time, they sent around 2,000 euros a month to India to support their parents and parents-in-law.

Money that was permanently withdrawn from the national economic cycle.

Where is the error in thinking?

We already have skilled workers here and are letting them go again because they were stupidly already in Germany and working here before the cut-off date of the new law.

ARTICLE 3, SECTION 1 of the Grundgesetz says:

“All people are equal before the law.”

– Is the issue date of a Blue Card before March 1, 2024 an exception here?

I think this is an issue that the Bundesverfassungsgericht should look into.

Another question: Who will provide health insurance for the parents who are allowed to join them?

The law only states that the costs are to be borne by the children. But let’s be honest: will the overburdened statutory system be able to take in people who have never paid into our social security system?

Will there be a private health insurance provider willing to bear the risk?

We are talking about people mostly over the age of 60 here – and we all know that the older they get, the higher the costs they incur.

Until now I have not yet found any provider I could offer to my clients.

What does the actual process look like here?

Family and Grandparents as integtation booster

Those of you who have own children know how important grandparents are. They relieve the burden on parents, who can then return to work or full-time employment more quickly.

Grandparents pass on values and traditions of the own culture to the younger generation – the fear many Expats have is losing their roots. Grandparents can provide stability here.

If an Expat knows that their parents and parents-in-law are looked after, they don’t constantly live in fear that a single phone or Zoom call could end their dream of a life and a future in Germany.

With this security, integration can take place differently.

If I know I’m staying permanently, I’m more likely to learn the language, to integrate – maybe even to take on citizenship.

This is my appeal to the politicians, to those responsible in all democratic parties in our country: Improvements must be made here. Lars Klingbeil Friedrich Merz Ricarda Lang Robert Habeck Christian Lindner Dr. Markus Söder (Unfortunately in 2024 some of our top politicians in Germany are still not on LinkedIn, in case you miss any important name in that list – to the above mentioned: feel free to forward internally)

We are losing valuable fellow citizens who are willing to make their contribution to our system and economy also in the future.

To all others: Feel free to share this article – hope we can change this together!