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Germany seeks skilled workers from crisis-hit southern Europe


The head of Germany's employment agency invited doctors and engineers from southern Europe to look for work in the continent's largest economy, in an interview published on Saturday.

"The German labour market will eventually require the arrival of 200,000 new foreign workers every year to meet the demand for workforce," Frank-Juergen Weise, CEO of the Federal Employment agency, told the Rheinische Post.

The number of people employed in Germany who come from Spain, Greece and Italy -- three of the countries hardest hit by the eurozone economic crisis -- rose eight percent last year, he said.

"Our efforts in these countries focus mainly on engineers, doctors and other health professionals," he told the regional daily newspaper. "We need to become even more attractive for foreign workers."

During a visit last year to Spain, where youth unemployment has soared to unprecedented rates well above 50 percent, Chancelor Angela Merkel had explicitly urged young professionals to seek work in Germany.

Labour shortages are one of the main challenges facing Germany, which has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe and only halted years of demographic decline last year thanks to an influx of immigrants.