Easier immigration for highly skilled workers starting 1 August 2012
German legislation implementing the EU's Blue Card Directive goes into effect 1 August 2012, making it much easier for highly skilled workers to immigrate to Germany.
In addition to creating the new residence permit known as the EU Blue Card, the Act to Implement the Blue Card Directive makes numerous changes which will benefit foreign university students and graduates, foreigners in occupational training, self-employed workers and entrepreneurs. A special residence permit will be created for the purpose of seeking employment, which will help small businesses in particular find foreign skilled workers for positions that would otherwise go unfilled.
Here is an overview of the most important changes:
There will be only one residence permit for highly skilled workers, the EU Blue Card.
• To obtain an EU Blue Card, the worker must earn a salary of at least €44,800 (valid for 2012). Employers will not have to demonstrate that no other workers with priority are available to fill the position, nor that working conditions are comparable.
The salary threshold for occupations subject to labour shortages (technical, medical and IT jobs) will be about €35,000. For these jobs, the comparability of working conditions does have to be examined.
• EU Blue Card holders are eligible for a settlement permit after three years if they continue to have a work contract.
If they have good German language skills, the settlement permit may be issued after only two years.
• Their family members are not required to demonstrate German language skills before entering Germany and may immediately work without restrictions.
A temporary residence permit for the purpose of seeking employment will be introduced, to be valid for six months. To qualify, permit applicants must have a university-level degree and sufficient means to support themselves.
Students are allowed to work full-time for 120 days or half-time for 240 days without additional authorization while enrolled in studies (increased from 90 and 180 days).
Foreign graduates of German higher education now have 18 months, up from the previous 12, to seek employment commensurate with their qualifications. They are allowed to work without restrictions during this time.
The new law makes it easier for graduates to be self-employed or to start their own business.
University-level graduates who have found an appropriate job will be granted a settlement permit after two years.
Foreigners who have entered Germany for occupational training are allowed to work for up to ten hours per week during their training.
After completing their training, they may stay in Germany if they find work in that occupation. They have one year to find an appropriate job and are allowed to work without restrictions during this period.
- The requirements for granting residence permits to entrepreneurs have been significantly reduced. In particular, the requirement to invest €250,000 and create five jobs has been discontinued.
- date of issue