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New regulations for the employment of foreigners in Germany

Germany: It will now be easier to employ qualified employees even without a university degree.

At the beginning of March 2020, the Specialist Immigration Act came into force. It newly regulates the education and employment of foreigners and facilitates the immigration of qualified employees to Germany.

The main elements of the law are:

  • Uniform definition for "qualified employees": Qualified employees are foreign university graduates (qualified employees with academic training) and foreigners with qualified professional education (qualified employees with professional education). In all cases, it is important that a foreign qualification is recognised in Germany. The employment of foreign qualified employees therefore depends primarily on the recognition of the professional education. Additional information on this can be found on the website Recognition in Germany.
  • Priority check: The "priority check" that was previously required in most cases will be largely eliminated in future. It will no longer be necessary for the employment office to check whether another employee in Germany is already eligible for the specific job. In the past, this examination has often at least considerably delayed the employment of foreigners, and in some cases even made it impossible.
  • Shortage professions: The previous limitation to shortage professions (for example, health care, IT, electrical) is abolished.
  • Employment in related occupations: Qualified employees may now also be employed in all related occupations that they are able to perform with their qualifications. There is no restriction to the specific occupation that has been practised so far. In any case, it must be a qualified employment. Purely auxiliary jobs are not covered by the facilitations.
  • Entry for the purpose of job search: In future, non-academic qualified persons (with professional education) may also receive a residence permit for the purpose of job search.
  • Entry for further qualification and recognition: The possibilities for entry for the purpose of obtaining further qualification or for the purpose of recognition of foreign qualifications will also be expanded.
  • Accelerated procedure: In order to make the innovations really noticeable simplifications for both employers and employees, an accelerated procedure will be introduced. Shorter processing periods apply in this procedure. The employer can apply for this procedure by paying a higher processing fee.
  • Extension of the obligations of employers when employing foreigners: In return for the facilitation of employment, the obligations of employers during the employment of foreigners will be slightly extended.

Source: Specialist Immigration Act