Skip to content

Germany: New labour immigration laws explained

Germany introduced a new labour immigration law on March 1st. This is in effort to fill its massive shortage of skilled workers and this is what is new for foreigners seeking a job in the country.

It has been noted in the past that Germany is not one country that is easy for foreigners to come to for work and from past events political leaders have insisted the country wasn’t not pursuing active immigration policies. But due to the fact that now Germany is lacking in more than a millions skilled labourers to keep its economy going did the situation require change.

Read more information on German Laws and legislation here: Legal News and Guides – Germany

As of March 1st, a new labour immigration law will facilitate the immigration of qualified workers to Germany. Below is a list of the most important changes for all those who are seeking a job from abroad:

What makes one a skilled worker?

Previously a skilled worker was anyone with a university or college degree, also called a specialist. The term now applies to someone who has acquired a vocational training certificate. The training program must be at least two years in length, and the resulting degree needs to be recognized as equal or similar to a German degree.

If you want to check whether your qualification suits the requirements, you can access an information portal set up by the German Labor Ministry. How this works is explained on the “Make it in Germany” website, where you can also find links to other issues related to working in the country.

The government’s aim is to finish the recognition process of an applicant within three months after all the necessary documents have been provided. A work visa will be issued four weeks later.

What allows you to work in Germany?

Applicants from outside the European Union are generally allowed to work in Germany if they have a work contract with a firm based in Germany and the relevant professional qualification for the job. The new law has stripped away a key regulation: that people from outside the EU can only take a job if there is no German or EU citizen who is able to do it instead.

Job seekers with qualifications lower than the vocational training level are, however, excluded by the new law. They can nevertheless apply for immigration if they possess a work contract or a job offer from a German employer. The employer then has to train the applicant and make sure he or she acquires a professional-level certificate within two years.

All those with a work contract or a specific job offer are granted residency status for four years, or the duration of their contract. After four years, they can apply for a permanent residence status.

If you’re looking for a job, you are also allowed entry into Germany — on the condition that you can prove you’re able to support yourself and that you speak sufficient German (B2 level).

This new law also plies to foreigners seeking professional qualifications or a university degree. They must have obtained an diploma from a German school abroad or any other degree that qualifies them for university or professional education, and they must be older than 25. Only after working for 2 years in Germany should people in this category apply for permanent resident status.

Foreign skilled workers who are older than 45 have to prove they earn a minimum of €3,685 P.M in their German job, or possess adequate old-age retirement funds.

Do you possess a special skill?

The bar of emigrating has been lowered for those who possess a special skill. This is medical doctors, IT specialists or registered certificate nurse among others, do not need to have their qualifications recognised by German authorities as long as they can prove a minimum of five years of experience.

Employers are obliged to take on financial responsibility for up to one year, including repatriation costs, for an employee whose contract has expired and who refuses to leave Germany voluntarily.

Read also:VIDEO: How to find a job in Germany and what to pay attention to

Family members are allowed

Under the new labour immigration law, qualified workers are also allowed to bring their spouses and minor children to Germany. But they must prove to be able to support their family members financially and must provide them with sufficient living space. They cannot receive state benefits such as social welfare payments.

Are refugees and asylum seekers supported by the new laws?

The new law does cater for refugees and asylum seekers, however, only very few of them would qualify for it, namely those granted exceptional leave to remain.

Should you be a foreigner lacking in residential status but you can’t’ be deported for various reasons, you are allowed to start training under certain conditions.

They must have been working at least 35 hours a week for 18 months, and need to be able to support themselves. In addition, they must have sufficient command of the German language (B2 level) and must not have committed a criminal offense.

Read also:German citizenship: how to prove adequate knowledge of the German language