German cabinet approves plan to attract more foreign workers

BERLIN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The German government on Wednesday agreed plans to reform immigration law, a government spokesperson said, as Berlin seeks to open up the job market in Europe's biggest economy to much-needed workers from outside the European Union.

The government has said it wants to boost immigration and training to tackle a skills shortage weighing on the German economy at a time of weakening growth, and when an aging population is piling pressure on the public pension system.

The planned reforms to the Skilled Immigration Act, first introduced in March 2020, include an "opportunity card for jobseekers" based on a new points system and not solely the person's qualifications.

Unskilled workers are also to be given the opportunity to migrate to Germany if the Federal Employment Agency sees a need for them in certain sectors.

Draft legislation on the initiative, which has been broadly welcomed by industry, is not expected before the new year.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised an "transparent, unbureaucratic" immigration points system, which the coalition hopes to pair with eased rules for gaining German citizenship. (Reporting by Holger Hansen, Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Madeline Chambers)