BERLIN, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Almost 266,000 people from countries outside the European Union came to Germany as workers last year, according to figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) published on Monday.
In 2017, the number of people from so-called third countries who held a residence permit for the purpose of gainful employment in Germany was still 217,000, according to Destatis.
This meant an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent, or almost 50,000 workers of third country nationals coming to Germany for employment.
In 2018, the main countries of origin for third country nationals with a work permit in Germany were India with 12 percent, China with nine percent, Bosnia and Herzegovina with eight percent and the United States with seven percent, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
The figures from the German statistical office showed that on average, third country nationals working in Germany were 35 years old and around two-thirds were men.
In particular, the number of migrant workers from the Western Balkan states increased sharply in recent years, the German statistical office showed.
While the share of migrant workers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia was only nine percent in 2015, the number increased to almost 25 percent in 2018.
Overall, around 10.9 million persons with non-German citizenship were registered in the German Central Register of Foreign Nationals (AZR) at the end of 2018, Destatis announced.
According to a recent study by the Bertelsmann foundation, the German economy will need at least 260,000 skilled immigrant workers per year by 2060 to counter the declining supply of labor caused by the country's aging population.
German companies continue to face difficulties in recruiting workers to fill vacant positions, with 49 percent of companies saying they struggled to find new employees, according to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
Back in December, the German government introduced a new law enables qualified workers from non-European countries to seek a job and achieve permanent residence status in Germany.