The “law on the further development of skilled worker immigration” creates new pathways for the immigration of skilled workers from third countries. The new Skilled Immigration Act also expands possibilities of entering Germany for the purpose of recognition of foreign professional qualifications. Importantly, it is still the case that anybody wishing to practise a regulated profession in Germany must have recognition. In other professions, recognition is helpful. This is because it offers lots of advantages as regards long-term professional integration and a future in Germany.
The new regulations will gradually come into force from November 2023 onwards.
New from November 2023
- For skilled workers with a higher education qualification, the possibilities for immigration to Germany from third countries with an EU Blue Card will be expanded. Salary thresholds, for example, will be significantly lowered. The general minimum salary ist now only 50% of the pension contribution assessment ceiling (i.e. € 43,800 gross for 2023), while the minimum salary for shortage occupations is now only 45.3% (i.e. € 39,682.80 gross for 2023).
- The group of people is expanded, the list of professions extended to veterinarians, dentists, pharmacists, teachers and academically trained managers in logistics, childcare and care for the elderly. These professions now also benefit from the lower salary threshold.
- Family reunification is facilitated. The proof that the blue card holder had sufficient living space and that their livelihood was secure when the family members joined, has no longer to be provided if the EU Blue Card holder already had a Blue Card from another EU member state immediately before moving to Germany and the cohabitation with his/her family already existed there.
- IT specialists can also obtain an EU Blue Card without a qualification if they have the relevant professional experience. IT specialists are no longer required to have a university degree recognized in Germany. Instead, they can now also apply for a Blue Card if they would have received the special visa for IT specialists under the old legal situation. This means that three years of relevant professional experience within the last seven years and demonstrable theoretical knowledge at the level of academic training now replace the requirement of a university degree for IT specialists. And another advantage compared to the old IT visa: no proof of German language skills is required for the EU Blue Card.
- In future, skilled workers with professional or academic training will have an entitlement to a residence permit if all requirements are met. Skilled workers with a completed professional qualification or higher education qualification are permitted to perform any qualified employment activity in the non-regulated sector. Training and employment no longer need to be related. The employment of drivers is also being simplified.
New from March 2024
- Residence for professional recognition: Those participating in refresher training or a compensation measure in Germany are able to enter Germany for this purpose and in future remain for up to a maximum of three years. The prospective skilled worker can also take up secondary employment of up to 20 hours per week.
- The new recognition partnership enables individuals from third countries to first enter Germany and then to carry out the entire recognition procedure in Germany. For this, the prospective skilled worker and their employer are required to apply for recognition after entering Germany and to actively engage in the procedure, including the training. Residence is possible initially for one year and can be extended for up to three years.
- In future, if the competent authority in the recognition procedure suggests a skills analysis, the prospective skilled worker can enter Germany for this purpose and remain for up to six months.
- In future, individuals with vocational experience can enter Germany for employment in all non-regulated professions. The requirement for this is a completed professional or higher education qualification recognized in the country of training and at least two years’ experience in the intended profession. Under certain conditions and as an alternative to a state-recognized qualification, a qualification from a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad is sufficient. Formal recognition of the professional qualification in Germany is not necessary. IT specialists also still do not need a qualification.
- Other changes relate to, among other things, access to the labour market for care assistants, the settlement permit for foreign skilled workers, simplifying family reunification, and the employment of students and trainees.
New from June 2024
- In future, individuals from third countries can enter Germany using the new opportunity card for job searching. Professional recognition may play a role in this, as skilled workers with full recognition will receive the opportunity card without any further requirements. Everybody else is required to provide evidence of a completed professional or higher education qualification recognized in the country of training. Alternatively, a qualification from a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad is possible under certain conditions. Either basic German language skills (Level A1 CEFR) or English language skills (Level B2 CEFR) are also required. At least six points must also be achieved under a points system. Points are given, among other things, for the professional qualification, language skills, professional experience, links to Germany and age. Professional recognition can also play a role in this. Skilled workers with partial recognition receive four points.
- The Western Balkans Regulation for citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia is being extended indefinitely and the quota increased to 50,000 workers per year.
Roland Plecher, firstname.lastname@example.org
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