Student: Liza Valença Ramos
Improving Communication: language-related aspects
I. Why should we work on language-related aspects for skilled migration?
It is well known that the German economy is being pressured by the aging of the population and that many resources are being used to attenuate this issue. One of these many initiatives is to attract skilled migrants. Great idea actually, but not new, and not used just by Germany, creating big international demand for skilled migrants. This great demand is also reflected inside the country, in the “competition” between the Länder (Federated State) to attract and retain skilled migrants. And if there was an official competition between all the Länder Thuringia would receive the LAST position.
The 2020 Thuringia Trend Atlas provides special attention to the migrants in the topic Securing the supply of skilled workers, showing that the need and the intention of attracting and retaining migrants is there, but little is said about HOW TO DO IT.
According to the theories of migration there are many factors that drive skilled labour force to migrate; one of them is the language aspect. According to these theories English-speaking countries have an advantage compared to others (OCDE Social, 2009). Inside the EU25 area the 2005 Eurobarometer survey shows that the challenge of learning a new language corresponds “only” for 19% of the discouraging factor for the employees. For the employers, the practical problems of language barriers correspond to 20% of the difficulties in recruiting migrants. (PWC, 2006).
The percentages are not that high, but with the great international and even domestic demand of skilled migrants any barrier or discouraging factor can be the final weight in the balance of choosing one destination instead from another. To overcome this factor some companies establish an English speaking environment, but this is just one aspect of the problem.
The challenge of learning a new language it’s only the tip of the iceberg of the communication issue. Those who don’t speak the country language are not able to integrate themselves in the society, and this is the biggest problem because the integration is fundamental for RETAINING the skilled migrants: “The better immigrants master the language of their host country, the better they integrate into its labour market” (Dustmann, 1994) But before that, Thuringia has to deal with the ATRACTING stage which is also related to the communication process. As it was already discussed in other chapters of this work, migrants are attracted by the “higher standard of living and better prospects for their children” (OECD, 2006). And the main point is: how the potential skilled migrants will find the necessary information about the lifestyle in Thuringia in order to motivate themselves to come if they don’t speak German or have little knowledge in the language? Providing all the necessary information easily accessible for the potential migrants is a key factor on the ATRACTING stage.
Before moving forward, let’s make an overview of recommendations we have already reached: * Incentive companies in Thuringia to establish English speaking environments in the areas they have greater demand of skilled migrants; * Provide easily accessible information about the standards of living and prospects for the migrants children;
The concepts that make this issue more complicated than it seems to be at first sight are: what are the “necessary information” and how it’s “easily accessible”, and that’s what we are going to discuss in the following sub-chapters of this work.
II. Language Related Topics on ATTRACTING, WELCOMING and RETAINING skilled labour.
In order to better understand the communication issues, we have to dissect the problem, discussing what are the most important information on each of the three main stages of the skilled migrants welcoming (lato