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Germany’s New Immigration Laws: Addressing Skilled Labor Shortages

Germany has been facing a significant shortage of skilled workers, particularly in sectors such as IT, technology, medical care, contracting, and logistics. To bridge this gap, the German parliament passed a reworked Skilled Immigration Act during the summer, aiming to facilitate the entry of skilled workers from countries outside the European Union.

German Skilled Immigration

Phase One Implementation: EU Blue Card Adjustments

Effective November 18, 2023, Germany implemented the first phase of its new skilled worker law, focusing on modifications to the EU Blue Card scheme. Key changes include lower salary thresholds for various occupations and expanded opportunities for new entrants to the labor market, including recent university graduates. Additionally, IT specialists without a university degree can now qualify with three years of relevant professional experience.

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Mobility and Family Reunification Streamlined

The law introduces streamlined processes for mobility and family reunification. Skilled workers meeting the prerequisites are eligible for a residence permit, and the Federal Employment Agency has been directed to expedite the approval process. EU Blue Card holders from other member states now enjoy short-term and long-term mobility in Germany without additional permits, and family reunification processes have been simplified.

Anticipated Changes from March 1, 2024: Flexible Pathways for Qualifications and Training

The upcoming changes include flexible provisions for individuals seeking qualifications in Germany aligned with their foreign training. Those undergoing training for up to three years can work part-time, and skilled workers with foreign qualifications can start working while the recognition procedure is underway, with a stay of up to three years.

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Changes Expected from June 1, 2024: Introduction of the Opportunity Card

In June 2024, Germany plans to introduce an “opportunity card” based on a points system. This card allows individuals with equivalent foreign qualifications to seek employment in Germany for a one-year period, contingent upon demonstrating financial self-sufficiency. The card permits holders to engage in employment for up to 20 hours weekly, with the option to extend its validity for up to two additional years, subject to securing qualified employment contracts. This innovative approach aims to further address the shortage of skilled workers and foster a more inclusive environment.

Source: Economic Times

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