7 Things you need to know about Germany´s new immigration law for skilled employees
Last updated: 09.03.2020
As you might have heard, the new immigration law (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) is there! With the goal of regulating work immigration to Germany, the law introduces a new immigration reality for expats. Here are some of the most important changes:
The main goal of this law is attracting qualified professionals to Germany: the new law is Germany´s answer to the shortage of talent and/or highly qualified professionals in many fields and industries. The law sets the goal of regulating work immigration in a way which will make it easier to have highly qualified professionals or talent from abroad join companies in Germany.
Education recognition is one of the most important factors: The new law determines that both professionals with professional training (Ausbildung) as well as professionals with academic education (akademische Ausbildung) could apply for a work visa. This is a very important step, as it was always more complicated for professional with non-academic professional training to obtain a work visa. However, the law sets that the training must be recognized in Germany, meaning must meet certain requirements. New recognition offices are being founded across Germany in order to address this issue.
Our tip: if this applies to you, try to apply for education recognition in the most organized and meticulous way possible: gather all your documents, make copies (including certified copies) of everything and make sure to work as systematically as possible, in order to speed up the process and avoid rejections.
Finding a job in the field of your studies becomes important (for everyone): Like in many other countries, education (especially academic education) has a big significance. The old regulations emphasized having an-academic degree (or, in many cases, a recognized academic degree). The new regulations set an academic degree in the field of your occupation as a requirement.
This means, if you studied computer science and work as software developers – you should be fine and might be able to get a Blue Card. However, if you studied social science or humanities and work as software developers – your work visa application might become more complex.
However, professional experience also plays a role: The law sets a special regulation for professionals in the fields of technology, information and communication, which allows them to obtain a work visa without holding an adequate academic education – as long as they have 3 years of professional experience and speak B1 level of German (excluding exceptions).
Our tip: even though we do not know how this regulation will be applied in practice, it will not be a bad idea to gather some proof of professional experience, such as recommendation letters and/ or certificates of employment.
Job seekers will be allowed to work part time (10 hours/week): The new regulations liberalize the requirements for a job seeker´s visa to include professionals who went through professional training (Ausbildung). Additionally, the law determines that expats on a job seeking visa will be allowed to work part time (10 hours per week) in order to try out the jobs that they are being offered before applying for work visas. The goal of this regulation is to increase stability and to avoid situations in which a work visa has been obtained – and the employment contract was terminated shortly after because it was not a good match.
Permanent residency could be obtained after 4 years of working: Work/employment visa holders could apply for permanent residency after 4 years of living and working in Germany and not after 5 (as was regulated until now). The required periods of time for Blue Card holders and graduates of German universities did not change.
One of the main conditions for obtaining permanent residency is B1 German knowledge.
Our tip: start working on your German proficiency once you came to Germany, because it will not become any easier as the time passes!
Freelancers and Entrepreneurs are not affected by the new regulations: The new regulations are designed for employees. Therefore, the sections regarding freelancers and entrepreneurs did not change.