New Hamburg Welcome Center for foreign professionals

Main point of contact for entry, residence and labour market for professionals, firms and refugees
20 January 2021
Hamburger Skyline

The City of Hamburg has begun bundling all services for professionals with skills acquired abroad and potential employers at the new Hamburg Welcome Center (HWC) in Hammerbrook, a press release said Tuesday (January 12, 2021). The centre also advises possible employers about hiring them. The opening of the HWC comes amid an ongoing, acute shortage of skilled workers despite fewer  job vacancies and a lower demand for labour in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The new "Skilled Workers Immigration Act (FEG)" has created the prerequisites for targeted and controlled labour market immigration alongside humanitarian immigration. 

Skilled labour shortage to increase in coming years

Commenting on the current labour market, Sönke Fock, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hamburg Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit), pointed out: "Over the next seven years, more than 67,000 skilled workers and managers in companies across Hamburg will retire because they are now aged 60 or older." Astrid Nissen-Schmidt, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg, stressed: "This gap cannot be filled by training only skilled workers locally. Thus, immigration will be key to securing skilled workers. The shortage of these workers will be a top priority for companies again when the coronavirus pandemic ends and the economy picks up again.”

Diverse services now in HWC

The new centre opened its doors in early January. Services and resources, provided by the Ministry for the Interior and Social Security Affairs, the Employment Agency and the job centre at different places hitherto, are now being pooled at HWC. The Work and Integration for Refugees (W.I.R) services provided by the Office for Migration as part of the "Accelerated Procedure for Skilled Workers" and the former Hamburg Welcome Centre in the city centre are also available in HWC.

Support for skilled workers, firms and refugees

"Thanks to this cross-agency co-operation, we can now provide individual, needs-based advice to skilled workers and employers," said Andy Grote, Senator of the Interior. The HWC is the main point of contact for "refugees who want to stand on their own two feet and find a job," said Dirk Heyden, Managing Director of the Jobcenter, adding: "The HWC helps refugees assess their skills and with subsequent language training and further training - right up to entering qualified work."