New Immigration Law in Germany
The German parliament passed an immigration law on Friday the 23rd of June 2023 designed to encourage more people from outside the European Union, including Nigeria, to come to Germany for work.
According to Interior Minister of Social Democrats (SPD), Nancy Faeser, the draft law secures prosperity in Germany.
Like many countries in Europe, Germany is facing a shortage of skilled workers. In 2022, the country’s labour shortage rose to an all-time high: the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) found 1.74 million vacant positions throughout Germany.
Together with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, she emphasized removing bureaucracy and improving the digitization and efficiency of the system.
The new ‘Opportunity Card’ chancenkarte’
A major new innovation under the law is a new “opportunity card” and its associated points system, which allows foreigners who don’t yet have a job lined up to come to Germany for a year to find employment.
A prerequisite for receiving a card will be a vocational qualification or university degree.
The cards will be awarded to those who fulfill a certain number of conditions, for which they will be awarded points: These could be German and/or English language skills, existing ties to Germany, and the potential of accompanying life partners or spouses on the German labor market.
The opportunity card will also permit casual work for up to 20 hours a week while looking for a qualified job, as well as probationary employment.
Those who are awaiting asylum approval, and got their application in by March 29, 2023, have the appropriate qualifications, and a job offer and will also be permitted to join the labor market. This would also allow them to enter vocational training.
A similar change holds for those here on a tourist visa. They will not be required to first leave the country, before returning in an employment context.
Recognition of degrees
A major obstacle to immigration has long been the requirement to have degrees recognized in Germany.
In the future, skilled immigrants will no longer have to have their degrees recognized in Germany if they can show they have at least two years of professional experience and a degree that is state-recognized in their country of origin. Someone who already has a job offer can already come to Germany and start working while their degree is still being recognized.
At the earliest, the bill’s regulations are expected to enter into force by March 2024. We will track the progress of the bill and report on related developments.
A CLOSER LOOK
- According to Euro News, the reforms are to modernise the country’s immigration legislation expected to make it easier for third-country nationals to work in Germany. It could increase the number of non-EU workers in Germany by 60,000 per year.
- The reforms to the Skilled Immigration Act particularly focus on workers with vocational, non-academic training. Existing rules for qualified professionals with university degrees will also be relaxed.
- Germany is hoping to combat its shortage of skilled workers with a new ‘opportunity card’ called chancenkarte. The ‘chancenkarte’ will use a points system to enable workers with required skills to come to Germany easily.
- The points-based system will take into account qualifications, professional experience, age, German language skills and ties to Germany.
- Every year, quotas will be set depending on which industries need workers. Three out of four of the following criteria must also be met to apply for the scheme: a degree or vocational training, three years’ professional experience, language skills or a previous stay in Germany and 35 years old or younger.
- Currently, most non-EU citizens need to have a job offer before they can relocate to Germany. A visa for job seekers already exists, but the ‘chancenkarte’ is expected to make it easier and faster for people looking to find work in Germany.
- Citizens of certain countries with visa agreements can already enter Germany for 90 days visa-free but are only permitted to take up short-term employment.
- The opportunity card will allow people to come and look for a job or apprenticeship while in the country rather than applying from abroad. Applicants must be able to prove they can afford to pay their living expenses in the meantime.
- The exact details of the scheme are yet to be formalised. The chancenkarte is not expected to be available until at least the end of 2023.
- The new system will make it easier for people with professional experience – rather than a university degree – to come and work in Germany.
- Germany will become more open to job experience and professional qualifications that are recognized in workers’ native countries. Currently, the country is strict about which qualifications it recognizes.
- It will also be easier for those without a job offer to seek work in Germany via the opportunity card.
- Qualified job seekers with degrees or vocational certificates will be allowed to stay in the country for one year as they search for employment. While looking for full-time employment, they will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week.
- Rules will also be eased for those with a job offer and a recognized diploma. Salary thresholds will be lowered, it will be easier for workers to bring their families to Germany, and it will be easier to gain permanent residency.
- Job opportunities are open in Germany for immigrants that are craftspeople, electrical engineers, IT specialists, careers, nurses, catering and hospitality professionals
TYPES OF VISA
- BUSINESS VISA
- VISA TO STUDY
- JOB SEEKER VISA
- WORKING (EMPLOYMENT) VISA
- FAMILY REUNION VISA
JOB SEEKER VISA REQUIREMENT
- Job seeker visa application form. You must submit a filled-out and signed application form for your job seeker visa.
- Valid passport+ a copy. Please make sure you provide a valid passport issued during the last ten years with two blank pages and a minimum of three months validity after leaving Germany (some embassies may ask for even a longer validity period depending on your nationality).
- Identity pictures. Provide passport-sized photographs according to the requirements of the visa photo guidelines according to the German embassy or consulate.
- Proof of accommodation. You must include proof of accommodation during your stay in Germany, such as hotel reservations, rental agreements, or an invitation letter in case you are staying with a friend or family member.
- Proof of financial means. You must also include proof that you have sufficient means to support yourself during your stay in Germany— you can do so by submitting one of the following:
- Proof of blocked account in your name showing a minimum of €947 that can cover your expenses per month.
- A declaration of commitment written by your inviter stating that they will cover all of your expenses.
- Evidence of valid health insurance. You must also submit proof of valid travel health insurance meeting the insurance requirements with a minimum of €30,000 for medical coverage.
- Proof of academic qualifications. You must submit proof of academic and professional qualifications, including your university degree, transcripts, vocational training certificates, etc.
- Proof of degree recognition. Remember that for a job seeker visa, your degrees and other academic qualifications must be fully recognized in Germany.
- Your resume. Submit a copy of your detailed CV with your personal information, including your academic and professional qualifications.
- Cover letter. Provide a cover letter or motivational letter stating your reasons for applying for a job seeker visa in Germany and what you plan to do if your visa is granted.
GERMANY TEMPORARY RESIDENCY PERMIT
The German Temporary Residence Permit is for persons who need to reside in Germany for a limited period. This residence permit is issued to persons wishing to reside in Germany for specific purposes. According to these purposes, there are a few types of Germany temporary residency permits:
- Enter in Germany with the right Visa. If you need a visa to enter Germany, make sure you enter with the right one. You cannot apply for a residence card under a tourist or business visa. Not even under a medical or cultural visa. You will need the right visa, for your application to be eligible.
- Register your German address. Upon arrival, get a place where you will be staying in Germany, if you have not already done so. You should register your address at the German authorities in the city you have settled in.
- Get Health Insurance. You may have purchased temporary health insurance from your home country. However, you should get health insurance in Germany for the whole period of planned stay in the country.
- Open a Bank Account. This is compulsory for a Germany residence permit application. You must have a bank account through which you prove financial stability.
- Fill an application form and set an appointment. There is a different application form for every type of residence title. Get the right form and answer all the questions given. Also, schedule an appointment with the closest immigration center to your place of residence in Germany.
- Have your documents ready. You should already prepare most of your documents while you are in your home country. Still, check if you have them all before attending your appointment.
- Attend your appointment. In the day of your appointment, show up at the right center with all the documents with you. You will attend a short interview, and then wait for the processing of your application. Usually, you have to pay the Residence Title fees on this day.