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Immigration Of Skilled Workers To Germany

In this article, Att. Hülya Oruç will mention Germany Skilled Immigration. We summarize the requirements to immigrate to Germany.

Germany Skilled Immigration

Germany is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers. Many positions cannot be filled. The high average age of Germans is gradually causing problems for the German Economy. Old people cannot work and there is nobody to take care of them. This so-called demographic change is supposed to cause big economic problems in Germany, which is one of the most successful economies in the world.

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Another problem is that many people living in Germany cannot and do not necessarily want to take on jobs that someone else from abroad would like to do. Germany is facing a lack of specialists, especially in sectors like health, science, and craftsmanship. More than 1.2 million vacancies cannot be taken.

After long discussions, the legislator has now passed the final version of the so-called “Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz” (from now on AufenthG n.F.) and announced it in the Federal Law Gazette. The new law came into force on 1 March 2020. The law is not a new special law. It merely amends and supplements the Residence Act in the necessary places.

The new legislative package is intended to open up and newly systematize the regulations for immigration from third countries and the residence of skilled workers in Germany. The aim is to create a clearer and more transparent legal structure. More targeted immigration of skilled workers is to be achieved.

An important goal of the new specialist immigration law in Germany is to ensure the business location of Germany by the recruitment of specialists from other countries outside the EU.

Not only persons with universal degrees, but furthermore persons who obtained vocational training will also be recognized in Germany.

As Germany is a very bureaucratic county it is promised that the procedure of recognition will be easier and quicker compared to today´s time. The approval of the qualifications shall not take longer than three months and the visa shall be granted within four weeks. In order to achieve this, the internal administration shall be simplified and concentrated on specialized public authorities.

Who Is a Skilled Worker?

As the amendment calls itself “Law for Immigration of Skilled Workers” it has to be known what exactly a skilled worker is.

The definition of the term skilled worker is important and essentially new. The former Resident Law did not know any term like this, although like almost any law in Germany there is a paragraph with definitions of the terms being used in the law. With the new law, the concept of skilled workers is uniformly defined and is thus intended to avoid confusion and difficulties with regard to demarcation.

According to Article 18 Par. 3 AufenthG n.F, a skilled worker is,

“[…] a foreigner who

  1. has a domestic qualified vocational training or a foreign professional qualification equivalent to a domestic qualified vocational training (skilled worker with vocational training), or
  2. holds a German university degree, a recognized foreign university degree or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree (skilled worker with academic training).”

In short, this means that skilled workers are both university graduates and employees with qualified vocational training. In the past, the law did not distinguish between people with vocational training and university graduates. Also, university graduates were particularly favoured by regulations such as the Blue Card EU. Now people with vocational training and university graduates who wish to take up a job unrelated to their degree are given the same opportunity. The construct of the Blue Card EU is still preserved (Article  18 b AufenthG n.F.).

To learn more details about Immigration in Germany, please check our article on Business Immigration in Germany.

New Procedure: New Requirements

A major hurdle before the law was changed was that a so-called priority check had to be carried out before an immigrant could start a new job or even enter the country to look for a job. Under the new law, however, this so-called priority check no longer applies. It will be much easier to enter the labour market if you have an employment contract and a recognized qualification because the present “priority review” will be dropped. The priority review is a current procedure in which the employment agency needs to prove if there is a possibility to fill a vacancy with a German Citizen before giving the immigrant permission to occupy the vacancy.

The prerequisite for the granting of a temporary residence title for skilled workers is according to Article 18 Par. 2 AufenthG n.F.:

  1. concrete job offer,
  2. approval by the Federal Employment Agency (exception: intergovernmental agreements or so-called positive list),
  3. granting or undertaking to grant a license to practice a profession,
  4. equivalence or recognition of the qualification; and
  5. if the applicant is 45 years or older at the time of the first application, the salary must be at least 55% of the annual income threshold of the general pension scheme, unless there is an adequate pension.

This means in concrete terms:

If there is an employment contract, skilled workers can enter the country in the future without a priority check.

The residence permit for skilled workers will be issued for a period of four years. When the employment contract is with a fixed term the residence permit will be issued for these dates. It is noteworthy that skilled workers must be granted a settlement permit after four years if they meet the requirements.

A skilled worker must be granted a settlement permit in accordance with Article 18 c Par. 1 AufenthG n.F. if

  1. it has had a residence permit for professionals for four years,
  2. it has a job which it may occupy,
  3. pension insurance contributions of at least 48 months have been paid in,
  4. sufficient knowledge of the German language (B1) and
  5. the general requirements for the issue of a settlement permit are fulfilled.

In the case of completion of domestic vocational training or study, it is even possible to obtain a settlement permit after only two years.

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It is to be welcomed that the Federal Government finally wants to tackle the plight that prevails in the German labour market. The innovations are positive and continue to make Germany attractive alongside other industrial nations.

Canada, for example, has a much friendlier immigration policy and is therefore popular with emigrants. However, it is doubtful whether the promise of fast processing can be kept. The reality in practice is quite different at the moment: Some applicants have to wait several months until they get an appointment with a consulate because that is still the first point of contact. First, an application for an appointment has to be made, at which all necessary documents have to be handed in. Only then the documents will be sent to Germany. There are a lot of unanswered questions and the practical application of the new law will show if the democratic and economic issues in Germany can be solved or at least countered sustainability. It remains to be seen whether the very bureaucratic procedure actually will be simplified and accelerated.