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Germany needs extra 400.000 immigrant workers

German government has agreed to relax its immigration laws with the aim of attracting skilled workers to its jobs market.

The cabinet wants a Canadian-style points system to bring in workers who speak German or have relevant skills.

Germany has the biggest economy in Europe but experts say it needs an extra 400,000 immigrant workers a year.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the reforms would create "the most modern law on immigration in Europe".

Criticising the proposals, conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz said Germany was failing to exploit the potential it already had and that it had more than two million people unemployed.

It already benefited from EU-wide freedom of movement, he said, but people did not want to move to Germany because "the bureaucracy is terrible, the taxes are too high".

Germany suffers from an ageing workforce and a lack of workers in construction, health and IT. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil said seven million skilled workers would be needed by 2035.

"We need people who will help us to maintain our prosperity in this country," said Rainer Dulger of the BDA employers' confederation.