Foreign IT Workers Affected by German Slowdown
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The Green Card Initiative launched by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at CeBIT 2000 in Hannover is a year old as of Wednesday, but already foreign IT experts lured to the country through the program are being faced with layoffs that may force them to leave the country.
According to current information from the German Federal Labor Office, the number of work permits issued to foreign IT experts continues to grow by around 150 per week. By July 20, 2001, 8,556 Green Card work permits had been issued.
But the online magazine "Silicon.de" reported yesterday that Green Card holders are also being affected by the current wave of layoffs at high-tech firms. Matthias Sommerfeld, a representative for IG Metall, told the magazine that people at the Infineon headquarters in Munich were first wooed away from existing jobs in February. This includes foreign experts whose residence permits are bound to their work contracts.
The Green Card experts include 1,782 from India; 1,198 from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states; 736 from Romania; 569 from the Czech and Slovak Republics; 532 from the former Yugoslavia; 323 from Hungary; 294 from North Africa; 272 from Bulgaria; 207 from South America; 130 from Pakistan; and 2,513 from other countries.