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5 Amendments to Germany's Skilled Workers Immigration Act

The German government is taking additional steps to make the country's immigration system more appealing to overseas skilled employees by eliminating several bureaucratic procedures and creating incentives for third-country immigrants with professional skills.

The country is presently working to revise the Skilled Workers Act, which went into effect on March 1, 2020, as part of the German government's effort to increase immigration of qualified workers from outside and address labour shortages.

The present administration launched the act reform on November 30, last year, with the primary goal of accelerating the recruitment of talented people from third countries for the German labour market.

“To be able to compete for talent and auxiliary workers, we are offering new, and more importantly, more straightforward ways to work in Germany,” the Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil had said at the time.

Three months later, the Federal Ministries of the Interior and Homeland (BMI) and Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) have convened a hearing with Federal states and associations to discuss the adjustments that need be made to the act.

In this context, BMI Minister Nancy Faeser stated that through the proposed changes, Germany seeks to decrease bureaucratic barriers, particularly in areas where Germany desperately needs them, such as artisanal jobs and healthcare.

While announcing the start of the hearing, Minister Heil also stated that with these measures, Germany will make it simpler for competent third-country nationals to work in its territory, in an effort to become a leader in the international competition "for brilliant minds and helping hands."

"Our economic growth is also decided by how we respond to the shortage of skilled people. That is why we are focusing on greater training and education, more female jobs, and more flexible retirement transitions. Yet, we also require foreign immigration in order to have a sufficient number of competent workers in the country. "We are making the necessary progress with the new Skilled Immigration Act," he stated.

Notwithstanding the pandemic and border restrictions, the first year of the Skilled Workers Act was deemed successful, with 50,000 German visas awarded to skilled third-country individuals under the Act within a year.

Serbian residents received the most visas, 2,024, but other Balkan nations are also mentioned among the countries with the highest number of visas received. Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked seventh with 1,159 visas, while Kosovo and Albania are ranked ninth and tenth, respectively, with 792 and 778 visas.

More Experts with a University Degree will be able to apply for the EU Blue Card.

The first adjustment Germany aims to make to the Skilled Workers Act is to make Germany's Blue Card more available to a larger number of university-educated specialists.

Furthermore, it wishes to make the migration system more appealing for foreigners to come to Germany for vocational training or study and subsequently stay in the nation in order to strengthen Germany's position as a leader in higher and professional education.

The EU Blue Card is a residency card provided by individual Member States to highly skilled professionals from outside the EU. The document allows its possessor the right to live and work in an EU country if they have better professional skills, such as a university degree, and a binding job offer with a higher pay than the average in the EU country where the job is located.

Upon initial employment in the EU country that issued the Blue Card, the person has the freedom to later move and work in other countries.

University Degrees No Longer Need Formal Recognition

Second, the German government wishes to allow third-country citizens to operate in Germany in their field of competence without having to go through the formal recognition procedures for their degree and professional certification.

“In the future, it will be sufficient if someone can prove their qualification for a non-regulated profession through a foreign professional or university degree and professional experience,” the BMI says in a press release regarding the reforms.

But, it will continue to be required for foreign workers to be paid beyond the defined threshold in order to ensure fair working conditions and remuneration for foreigners and avoid their exploitation.

Professional Qualifications Might Be Recognized Following Arrival in Germany

According to people who wish to have their foreign professional certification recognised in Germany, the government wants to allow them to begin the process after they have entered the nation, rather than before, as it is currently the case.

The government believes that such a shift will allow firms to hire international specialists more swiftly, while also making it easier for people to have their qualifications recognised in Germany while working in qualifying positions.

Job Seekers with an Opportunity Card in Germany

Immigrants who have not found work in Germany from their native country will soon be able to relocate to Germany and then find work.

This will be made possible by the Opportunity Card, a one-year valid jobseekers visa that will be provided to foreigners based on a points-based system that will assess the applicant's qualified work.

Foreigners will be eligible to work in trial or secondary job with this visa.

Short-term employment will be permitted in certain circumstances.

The government also wants German firms to be able to hire foreigners for short-term periods when their needs are temporary, regardless of particular qualification requirements.

But, the number of workers hired in this manner will be limited, and collective agreements and mandatory social security will safeguard short-term employees.



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