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The BBC's Glenn Thomas
"20,000 work permits are on offer from Germany"
 real 28k

The BBC's Patrick Bartlett reports from Frankfurt
Fewer than one-fifth of applications so far are from Indians
 real 28k

Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Germany woos Indian IT
Software engineers in India
Germany wants to attract Indian software experts
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has begun a visit to India aimed at wooing local software professionals with promises of special work permits.

Mr Fischer is in the high-tech city of Bangalore where he told Indian information technology experts that his country was keen on tapping their expertise.



Indian engineers are welcome in Germany

Joschka Fischer
Germany has an acute shortage of computer experts and has already announced plans to issue 20,000 work visas - similar to the US green card - later this year to fill the vacancies.

'No opposition'

The plan to attract software experts from abroad led to criticism from German trade unions who feared job losses.

It was also opposed by the opposition Christian Democrats in the run-up to recent provincial elections


German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
Joschka Fischer will raise the nuclear issue
But the foreign minister said there was no domestic opposition to recruiting overseas workers.

"The German opposition party raised the issue as an election ploy," Mr Fischer said.

"We are living in a global era and a global economy. Indian engineers are welcome in Germany," he said.

He said the German Government was finalising the visa initiative which would allow Indian IT experts to work in Germany.

Global demand

Indian software exports to Germany increased from $92m in 1999 to $148m in the current financial year.

But the major destination for Indian IT specialists remains the United States.

Last week, the US proposed to almost increase the number of work visas for skilled workers to 200,000.

"The US is today the prime goal for the English-speaking community in the IT business," Michael Pfeiffer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce told the Reuters newsagency.

"But I think there is a real chance for Indian IT people who want to stay in Germany, form their own company and employ people," he said.

Nuclear issue

On Thursday, Mr Fischer will travel to the Indian capital Delhi, to hold talks with senior Indian government officials.

"We are seriously concerned about nuclear issues. I will talk about it in Delhi with my Indian counterparts," Mr Fischer said.

"India is playing an important role in the region. . . and we seen India in the 21st century as a very important power," he added.

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See also:

15 Apr 00 | South Asia
India at risk of tech worker shortage
17 Mar 00 | South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
18 Apr 00 | South Asia
India and UK boost ties
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