Skilled Employment Immigration

What is the aim of the Immigration of Experts Act?

The new law on the immigration of skilled workers creates the framework for a targeted and increased immigration of qualified skilled workers from third countries. The aim is to enable those skilled workers to come to Germany to work in those German companies who urgently need it in view of the large demand for personnel and empty applicant markets. These are university graduates a s well as people with qualified vocational training.

When will the new rules come into force?

The law on the immigration of skilled workers came into force on 1st March 2020.

Skilled workers in Germany will receive a residence permit according to § 18a of the Residence Act (AufenthG) or according to § 18b of the Residence Act (AufenthG) if (legal entitlement):

a) they are graduates of a degree program according to § 18b of the Residence Act (AufenthG) or
b) they are graduates of a qualified vocational training program according to § 18a of the Residence Act (AufenthG) and pursue a qualified employment.

  • their qualification is recognized in Germany.
  • a concrete job offer is available, whereby the employment does not necessarily have to be in a professional context related to the professional qualification (delimitation from the EU Blue Card), but it is important that it is a qualified employment.
  • However, if skilled workers are over 45 years old and are taking up employment in Germany for the first time, they must either earn a gross annual salary of at least EUR 49,830.00 (as of 2024) or provide proof of adequate retirement provision.
  • The approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) for the employment conditions is required.

What are the main changes introduced by the Immigration of Skilled Workers Act?

The main innovations include:

  1. A uniform term for skilled worker immigrants, which includes university graduates and applicants with qualified vocational training,
  2. The abolition of a priority check in the case of recognized qualifications and employment contracts. This means that it will be no longer necessary to determine whether a German national or European applicant is available before each recruitment of a skilled worker from a third country.
  3. There is no longer a restriction of qualified vocational training only to occupations with a shortage of workers (positive list)
  4. The possibility for Job Seeker Visa for skilled workers with qualified vocational training to come to Germany for a limited period to look for a job (prerequisite:
  5. German language skills and livelihood security),
  6. Improved possibilities for residence in Germany for qualification measures with the aim of the recognition process of vocational qualifications, procedural simplifications through a bundling of responsibilities with central immigration authorities and accelerated procedures for skilled workers in the case the foreign qualification must be examined.

Who is a skilled worker within the meaning of the law?

Skilled workers under the Immigration of Skilled Workers Act are foreigners from third-countries who comply with the requirements of one of the following categories:

  1. Have domestic qualified vocational training or a foreign professional qualification equivalent to domestic qualified vocational training.
  2. Have a German university degree, a recognized foreign university degree or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree.

What is recognition of qualifications in Germany?

Professional recognition means the evaluation and the confirmation of the equivalence of a foreign vocational qualification with a German qualification. In a procedure regulated by law, it is examined whether your training is equivalent to comparable German training and whether professional recognition can be granted.

The Recognition Act is an important building block for securing the request for skilled labor in Germany. The new law makes it easier for skilled workers from abroad to use their vocational qualifications on the German labor market and therefore raises the motivation to come to Germany.

Who is responsible for recognition of the skills and qualifications of the applicants?

In order to verify the equivalence of their foreign professional qualification, persons seeking recognition must contact the competent authority for their profession.

According to the BQFG – Vocational Qualification Assessment Act, the chambers of commerce are generally responsible for checking the equivalence of training occupations in the dual system. In the case of regulated occupations – i.e. occupations such as doctor or nurse, for which access to the occupation is controlled by the state – responsibility is based on the relevant specialist law and the provisions of the federal states. If no documents are available for an equivalence test, an aptitude test can be applied for. The procedure applies primarily to non-regulated professions.

Your residency prospects:

After three years of holding a residence permit for employment purposes, the applicant is entitled to obtain a permanent residence permit (settlement permit).

How to Check Your Eligibility

Our law firm Jaberi Lawyers, based in Hamburg, specializes in this area and offers comprehensive advice and support in applying for the visa for skilled workers, in the priority check, and in all other immigration and labor law matters. With its expertise, we represent both employers and employees and accompanies you through the entire process. For further information or to make an appointment, interested parties can contact the law firm on +49 40 41349987 or visit the website There you will also find details on opening hours and other services offered.

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