Promoting legal mobility among highly qualified Tunisian experts

  • Country of destination: Germany
  • Country of origin: Tunisia
  • Sectors: Construction, Engineering, and Manufacturing
  • Skill level: High
  • Timeline: July 2012 - December 2013
  • Number of beneficiaries: 120


In 2012–13 the German Development Agency (GIZ) ran a small pilot program financed by the Federal Foreign Office in which young Tunisian engineers moved to Germany to work.

Why was it started?

Tunisia has experienced slow economic development and high unemployment since its revolution, in 2011. At the same time, small- and medium-size enterprises in Germany have been desperately short of skilled personnel in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions. This program aimed to address both needs by putting young Tunisian engineers in touch with German companies.

How does it work?

The German Development Agency (GIZ) designed the program. The Tunisian employment agency (ANETI) and the German Federal Employment Agency (BA/ZAV) selected 130 participants, 120 of whom received five months of intensive German language training (up to level B1) at the Goethe Institute in Tunis plus a two-month intercultural orientation in Germany. Following this training, 100 Tunisian engineers began six-month internships in Germany.

What impact did it have?

German employers involved in the program expressed their satisfaction with the qualifications of Tunisian candidates and the set-up of the program. Three-quarters of the beneficiaries stayed after their internships ended in Germany. Some received job offers meeting the criteria for the Blue Card (an EU residence permit for highly skilled non-EU foreign nationals). Others started studying in Germany. Participants who returned received assistance in finding jobs in Tunisia. Thanks to the success of this pilot, Germany agreed to a new mobility pact with Tunisia.