Immigration of skilled workers to Germany: new rules come into force in November 2023
A new reform to Germany's Skilled Immigration Act aims to enable skilled professionals to work in Germany faster and in a less bureaucratic manner. In November, the first new rules will come into force to make it easier for skilled workers to emigrate to Germany. Read more about why the German government decided to reform the law and what changes will take place in 2024
Germany attracts expats with career prospects, a high level of social security and good living conditions. Employees from many countries of the world issue the Blue Card of Germany every year, but the majority are citizens of India, China, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.
The state is the leader in the EU in terms of the number of issued work permits. However, there is still a significant shortage of qualified personnel in Germany. The country's leadership considers it a priority to attract experienced workers from all over the world, so the path to the German labor market is becoming easier for qualified workers.
In 2020, the German government amended several laws to facilitate the emigration of skilled personnel. The first innovations entered into force already in November 2023. What has changed? Let's talk further.
Changes that entered into force on November 1, 2023
1. The minimum wage threshold for obtaining a Blue Card has been lowered
The new law lowered the minimum salary threshold for obtaining a Blue Card, which is issued by highly qualified specialists from outside the EU, new norms:
- for representatives of scarce professions – 45.3% of the annual limit of contributions to pension insurance (in 2023 – 39,682.80 euros per year);
- for all other professions – 50% (in 2023 – about 43,800 euros per year).
2. Requirements for scientists have been simplified
Foreign academics who have completed their higher education within the last three years can obtain an EU Blue Card if they find a job in Germany with a minimum salary of €39,682.80 per year.
3. Employment of IT specialists without higher education
IT professionals have been granted the right to issue a Blue Card in Germany, even if they do not have a university degree, but can prove that they have at least three years of professional experience. It is also necessary to find a job with a minimum wage of 45.3% of the annual limit of contributions to the pension insurance (in 2023 – 39,682.80 euros per year).
4. The list of scarce professions has been expanded
In addition to the current scarce professions (specialists in the field of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, engineering and medicine), qualified specialists in the following professional groups will also be able to obtain a German Blue Card:
- Managers in the fields of production, mining, construction and logistics;
- Specialists in the field of information and communication services;
- Specialists in child care or health care;
- Nurses and midwives;
- School and extracurricular teachers, etc.
Look for a detailed list of professions at the link.
5. The procedure for moving between EU member states has been simplified
Foreigners who have a Blue Card of any EU member state can work in Germany for up to 90 days without a visa or work permit.
If an expat has held a Blue Card from another EU member state for 12 months or more, he can move to Germany without a visa. However, after moving, you need to apply to the immigration office for a German Blue Card.
6. The rules of family reunification have been updated
If the family members of a skilled worker with a German Blue Card live in another EU member state, it is now easier for them to move to Germany. The family does not need a German visa and can live in the country on the basis of a residence permit from another European country.
It is also no longer necessary to prove that the living space and income are enough to cover the requirements and expenses of family living.
It will also be easier for people who will receive a residence permit from March 1, 2024 to bring their parents and relatives to Germany.
7. Conditions for employment of qualified drivers have been simplified
Also, starting from November 2023, the conditions of employment of professional drivers from third countries were simplified in the Federal Republic of Germany. EU or EEA driving licenses and basic qualifications are no longer checked. In addition, priority testing and language proficiency requirements were abolished.
Innovations that will come into force in March 2024
1. Changes for qualified workers with practical work experience
Specialists with two years of practical experience will be able to work in Germany without having to obtain official recognition of their qualifications. For employment, it is only necessary to have a permit or a similar professional qualification recognized by the country of origin. Professional training should last at least two years.
2. The rules for nurses and carers have been simplified
In the future, specialists who have completed training courses for nurses lasting one or two years will be able to get a permanent job in the German health care system. Previously, this was possible only for nurses who completed three-year courses. The only condition is that applicants must have trained as a nurse/nursing assistant in Germany or have a foreign nursing qualification that is recognized in Germany.
3. The period of stay for recognition of foreign qualifications has been increased
Opportunities to stay in Germany to participate in qualifying events are expanding. The previous 18-month residence permit for the implementation of adaptation measures is now issued for 24 months on the first issue. It is also possible to extend for the next 12 months up to a maximum stay of 3 years. Part-time work during the qualifying event will be increased from 10 to 20 hours per week. This will allow future skilled workers to enter the German labor market more easily.
4. Residence permit for those who receive a scholarship
Qualified workers can obtain a residence permit for up to 18 months if they have been awarded a scholarship by a German research organization.
5. Opportunities for employment of foreign students have been expanded
Opportunities for part-time employment are expanding for third-country nationals studying in Germany on a student visa. The previous annual accounting of working hours from 120 full or 240 part-time working days will be increased to 140 full or 280 part-time working days. In addition, the new regulation allows students to work up to 20 hours a week. Salary and position are not important.
Changes in June 2024
1. Employment based on the opportunity map
From June 2024, Germany will have an opportunity card that will allow skilled workers from non-EU countries to look for work in Germany.
Foreign nationals with a degree or professional qualification equivalent to a German one can obtain an Opportunity Card.
- Candidates must have a diploma from a foreign university or a professional-technical qualification of at least two years duration (if the qualification is recognized in the country of study).
- In addition, basic knowledge of the German language up to level A1 or knowledge of English up to level B2 will be required.
Candidates receive points for qualifications, language skills, work experience, age, etc. A minimum of six points is required to receive an opportunity card.
Germany is simplifying its legislation, so more specialists can find employment in the country. However, the procedure for obtaining a work permit in Germany has its own requirements and features.
Igor Usyk - Head of Migration department at VisitWorld
To ensure a safe move to a new country, I advise you to consult a specialist. My colleagues, qualified specialists with a legal education, will help you avoid unpleasant situations during migration.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;
Legal advice on immigration in Germany;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;
Medical insurance all over the world.
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