Law for the immigration of skilled workers

Countless job offers in Germany offer well-paid jobs with excellent conditions but still remain vacant. This is due to the shortage of skilled workers, which affects the health care services as well as craftsmanship, the engineering sector, and the IT sector. With the skilled workers’ immigration law, a framework has been created for giving skilled workers, who are so urgently needed by the German economy, access to the German labor market. The law took effect on March 1, 2020. Here is an overview of its main content and goals.


Goals of the immigration law

The immigration law creates a framework for targeted immigration of qualified professionals from non-EU countries. The goal is to facilitate immigration to Germany for work purposes for qualified specialists in order to close the gap in human resources in many areas. Existing regulations for university graduates will remain as they are. The new law mainly affects people with qualified vocational training.


Definition of specialist

The immigration law introduces a definition of the concept of skilled workers for the first time. Accordingly, the term foreign specialist includes all nationals from third countries who

  • have a university degree or
  • have a qualified vocational training

A requirement for both is that the degree was either acquired in Germany or that the foreign qualification has been recognized by a competent authority in Germany.


Opening the labor market

Until now, unlimited access to work in Germany was reserved for specialists from non-EU countries with a university degree. This has changed with the immigration law. Now specialists with professional, non-academic, training are able to work in qualified professions in Germany. The condition is that the specialist already has a specific job offer and that his or her professional qualification is recognized in Germany. The previous „priority check“ is thus canceled. This means that it is no longer necessary to check whether a German or European applicant is available for the position before hiring a specialist from a non-EU country. Furthermore, the foreign specialist is able to pursue employment in a field that he or she is qualified for – meaning that he or she does not have to work in the same profession in which she completed her training, but can also work in related occupations. For university graduates, this means that employment is also possible in professions, for which only non-academic training is required. Unqualified activities such as helpers and teaching jobs are excluded.


The job search becomes easier

Just as is already the case for university graduates, it is also possible for specialists with vocational training to come to Germany for up to six months to look for a job. Therefore, the specialist must have his qualification recognized in Germany, a secure living and sufficient knowledge of German. As a rule, knowledge of German at B1 level is required. During the search for a job, the specialist may carry out a trial work of up to ten hours a week. This is also possible for university graduates. They do not have to have any special knowledge of German.


Residency for qualification measures

Since the German professional training system has high standards that are not comparable to those of many other countries, the skilled worker immigration law expanded the opportunities for qualification measures in Germany. For example, specialists from third countries whose foreign qualifications have deficits compared to German training can acquire an 18-month residence permit in order to carry out the necessary qualification measures. Sufficient knowledge of German (generally at least A2 level) is required. The residence permit can be extended to a maximum of two years and can be replaced at the end by a residence permit for educational, study or employment purposes if the relevant qualifications have been achieved.


Accelerated process for a work migration visa

Issuing a work migration visa is a lengthy process. In order to make it more efficient, the immigration law provides the option of an accelerated process. This allows the German employer, with a power of attorney from the specialist, to initiate an accelerated procedure at the responsible immigration office, which significantly shortens the duration of the administrative procedure. With the simultaneous application, it also includes spouses and children of the specialist if the legal requirements for family reunification are met.


Work migration with HereLocation

Moving to Germany for employment presents companies as well as specialists with great challenges. Both parties are often not yet familiar with the complex organizational processes and administrative requirements and do not even know what needs to be done before the move. HereLocation can help. As a professional relocation service, we support private individuals and companies in organizing the international transfer to Germany. We help you with all activities related to the move – starting with the application for a visa and work permit, looking for a flat and possibilities to reentering the labor market for the accompanying spouse. You can contact us at any time if you want to learn more or are interested in our comprehensive services.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!