Germany Seeks to Keep Chinese Students in Country

Despite German ambivalence about the increasing influence of Chinese in their society, the government has begun implementing policies designed to encourage more Chinese graduates to stay instead of returning to China.

As in the US Chinese make up the biggest nationality of foreign students in Germany. The 25,000 studying there at end of 2012 made up 13% of all foreign students. These students are seen as a valuable talent pool that German companies want to employ in order to enhance their global competitiveness.

An example of the new efforts at encouraging the Chinese to stay is the “Chinese Talent Day” held each year in the city of Cologne. Over 150 German companies participate in an effort to recruit Chinese students who have learned the German language and culture during their years of study.

To encourage more Chinese to stay, Berlin is extending their visas even after they graduate, granting more chances to seek local employment and issuing more working visas to foreign professionals. Germany’s strict immigration policies have been designed to keep down the number of foreign workers, making it a less attractive option for many would-be Chinese immigrants than countries like Canada, Australia and the United States.

These efforts to woo Chinese students come at a time when China’s rise as a source of investments in German businesses and as a global competitor have made many Germans uneasy. Even as they admire the Chinese for their talent and diligence, they have become fearful that they pose a threat to Germany’s future as one of the world’s leading industrial and export power.

In fact China had surpassed Germany as the world’s leading exporting nation in 2009. In 2012 China became the world’s leading trading nation when its total trading volume of $3.87 trillion surpassed that of the US ($3.82 tril.).