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When Extremes Converge

German and Canadian Labor Migration Policy Compared


Not only but particularly in terms of labor migration policy Germany and Canada are widely perceived as being situated at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas Canada has for a long time been enjoying a reputation of being one or even the role model for countries seeking to develop a flexible and welcoming immigration scheme that is nonetheless responsive to shortages and demands of specific sectors of the national labor market, the German system has been suffering from the suspicion of being not only structurally hostile towards immigrants but also of featuring a structural one-sidedness in terms of its steering, control and recruitment instruments. Against the background of major immigration reforms in the segment of highly skilled labor migration in both countries the paper describes and analyzes the core elements of these recent policy reforms, arguing that Canada and Germany as of 2013 increasingly display more similarities than differences in their high-skilled labor immigration policy. Both countries have departed from extreme and one-sided steering approaches and now run ‘hybrid systems’ that aim at making use of the advantages of different steering and recruitment approaches.


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Correspondence to Holger Kolb.

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Kolb, H. When Extremes Converge. CMS 2, 57–75 (2014).

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  • Immigration Policy
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Point Systems