New immigration law for knowledge migrants in Germany

20. December 2023

The new immigration law for knowledge migrants makes it easier to emigrate to Germany – not for everyone, but for skilled workers with vocational training and people with practical professional knowledge. As the new law regulates immigration – i.e. living and working in Germany – third-country nationals living in the Netherlands or Belgium but wanting to work in Germany should note that permission to work in Germany is often linked to residence in Germany. However, there are relevant changes for EU Blue Card holders from other EU countries.

“For holders of an EU Blue Card issued by another EU member state, short- and long-term mobility to Germany will be made possible,” writes “Make It in Germany – the German portal for skilled workers from abroad” on their website. It further says: “Blue card holders from other EU countries may stay in Germany for a maximum of 90 days for a business activity directly related to their work. No visa or work permit from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit is required for this short stay. After a minimum 12-month stay with an EU Blue Card in another EU country, a long-term move to Germany is possible without a visa. A German European Blue Card must be applied for at the competent authority after entering the country.” In addition, family reunification with persons holding an EU Blue Card will be facilitated. More information can be found at European Blue Card.

The provisions of the new law will take effect gradually from November 2023. The new rules for the EU Blue Card will take effect from November 2023. Specifically, this includes lower salary limits and a larger pool of people. This means more opportunities for young professionals and IT specialists.  In addition, the list of bottleneck professions has been expanded; a detailed list can be found here.

The two central legal bases for residence permits for skilled workers with vocational training (Section 18a AufenthG) and skilled workers with academic training (Section 18b AufenthG) have been changed. More information can be found under “Work visa for qualified professionals“. The employment of professional drivers from third countries has also been made easier. More information on the rules for professional drivers from abroad can be found under “Special regulations for professional drivers” and on the employer side under “Professional drivers from third countries“.

Further regulations on employment and recognition will come into force from March 2024. From June 2024, there will be a new job search list. The Western Balkans scheme will also be abolished. From June 2024, the quota will be 50,000 recognitions per year from the Federal Employment Agency.

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