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.

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 there are no documents for an equivalence test, a qualification examination can be applied. The procedure applies above all to non-regulated professions. The applicants can find their competent authority in the Recognition Finder on link below:

Does the Skilled Immigration Law (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) also open up the immigration of unskilled or low-skilled workers?

No. The Skilled Immigration Law (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) makes it clear that the foreigner’s prerequisite is checked for equivalence in the so-called recognition (Annerkennung) procedure before entrance. Which means that the applicant must have a diploma in the field in which they work (but not necessarily a higher education).

Immigration of IT specialists

IT specialists, who do not have an academic degree with at least three years of work experience and a job offer from a German company with salary of at least 4,020 euros per month as well as within the framework of placement agreements of the Federal Employment Agency can get the working and residence permit according to the new law. The salary limit is adjusted annually.

Is there any age restriction for older applicants?

There is no age limit for the work visa applicants. The only restriction is the minimum salary which is 3,685 Euro per month for those applicants older than 45 years old for the purpose of sufficient retirement allowance.

The assessment of the equivalence of qualifications and the assessment of working conditions also remain essential to access to the labor market. This is important to ensure satisfactory pay for new skilled workers and to prevent wage dumping.

To check your eligibility

It is important that you first recognize your foreign qualifications. More information on this procedure can be found here.

Contact our expert  attorneys and advisers for an individual assessment.

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