BERLIN (AFP) - German business would like to see asylum seekers given quicker access to the jobs market, saying they could benefit Europe's top economy, industry leaders said Sunday.
The president of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Eric Schweitzer, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that asylum seekers deserved "future prospects" in Germany, calling them a "great opportunity" for the country's economy.
Under a recent reform, asylum seekers are able to to seek work after three months in the country.
In industries with labour shortages, a requirement that companies first attempt to hire German citizens before taking on asylum seekers can be waived.
In other sectors, the requirement applies during the asylum seeker's first 15 months in the country.
However business leaders said the new policies do not go far enough.
The head of the BDA employers' federation, Ingo Kramer, told Welt am Sonntag it would be "sensible" to allow asylum seekers to be hired without restrictions after six months in Germany.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said Saturday that Germany expects 230,000 asylum seekers in 2015, up from a predicted 200,000 this year.
Fighting in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan has caused the surge.
The German unemployment rate came in at 6.6 percent in November, the lowest level since national reunification in 1990, and many industries complain that a lack of skilled workers is hobbling their potential growth.