BERLIN, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Germany was a particularly attractive destination for students and entrepreneurs, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published on Wednesday.
The OECD study that was presented in Berlin and was carried out with the support of the Bertelsmann Foundation, found that Germany ranked third among the 36 OECD countries as an attractive target country for students.
Factors such as low tuition fees, comparatively low living costs and opportunities to work after graduation played an important role in Germany's high ranking, according to the study.
For entrepreneurs around the world, the "classic immigration countries" Canada and New Zealand were more attractive than Germany in an international comparison but in Europe, only Switzerland, Sweden and Norway were ahead of Germany.
In particular, Germany's "lower requirements for entrepreneur visas" helped make it an attractive destination.
"It is encouraging that Germany offers good opportunities especially for international students," said Joerg Draeger, CEO of the Bertelsmann Foundation.
In the short and medium term, however, Germany also needed "more skilled immigrants with an academic background, for whom Germany is unfortunately not particularly attractive," said Draeger.
Highly qualified employees from outside Germany did not consider Germany to be particularly attractive, according to the OECD study.
Germany ranked 12th among the most attractive locations for skilled workers with a master's degree or doctorate in the study. Australia was in first place, followed by Sweden and Switzerland.
One reason for Germany's relatively poor performance among highly qualified individuals, according to the study, was that foreign qualifications were "often heavily devalued on the German labor market".
"Many factors outside migration legislation affect the attractiveness of a country," said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD director for employment, labor and social affairs.
"For professionals, the speed of visa issuance is an important factor, but for many highly skilled people, the framework conditions for partners and children are also important," added Scarpetta.
Germany nonetheless ranked among the leaders in international comparison in terms of the speed with which visas or residence permits for highly qualified persons were issued.
Wido Geis-Thoene, expert at the German Economic Institute (IW), criticized that Germany lacked "language courses that not only convey everyday knowledge but also go beyond it. Many professions require a sound knowledge of German".
Better counselling and placement services were also needed to ensure that highly qualified immigrants "can quickly find the right employer for them," the IW expert added.
Last year, almost 266,000 people from countries outside the European Union (EU) came to Germany to work, according to recent figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).
In the coming years, Germany's "baby boom generation will retire and the shortage of skilled workers will become a major problem for companies. Immigrants could fill this gap," said IW expert Geis-Thoene.
In March, the German government presented a draft proposal for an immigration act aiming to "support the retention of skilled workers by targeted and controlled immigration" of skilled workers from non-EU countries.
The German government is aiming for all skilled workers with an employment contract and a recognized qualification to be able to work in the corresponding professions in Germany in future.