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Changes to Germany's EU Blue Card Explained

Germany has made significant adjustments to its Blue Card, a European Union-wide residency card created specifically to attract highly qualified workers from third countries in industries where labour is scarce in EU countries.

The German government approved significant modifications to its immigration policies this week in an effort to lure more international employees.

The improvements include a new three-year job-seeker residence permit and the elimination of various bureaucratic procedures, including the creation of new facilitations for getting an EU Blue Card in Germany.

The Salary Threshold Will Be Reduced

Among the major modifications that the legislation on this document will undergo is lowering the income level, allowing more foreigners to enter Germany with the EU Blue Card even if they are offered lesser compensation than the existing threshold.

For the time being, the minimum wage for a German Blue Card is €56,400. Those who wanted to come to Germany under this legislation but were given a lower pay had to seek clearance from the German Federal Employment Agency in order to be awarded the paperwork.

“In occupations where jobs vacancies for e.g. doctors, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians, and IT-specialists cannot be filled due to a shortage of qualified personnel applicants need a job offer providing gross annual earnings in the order of only €43.992,” the Federal Foreign Office explains.

To now, it has not been confirmed how much the salary threshold will be reduced.

The salary threshold in other EU nations is much lower than in Germany. The monthly wage for holders of this card in Poland, for example, is €15,446, €16,700 in Hungary, €11,408 in the Czech Republic, and €13,776 in Latvia.

Austria has a higher salary requirement of €58,434, Belgium has a salary threshold of €55,431, Finland has a salary threshold of €56,774, France has a salary threshold of €53,836.50, and Sweden has a salary threshold of €50,550. Luxembourg requires the highest EU Blue Card wage level, a minimum of €78,336 per year.

German Language Proficiency Is No Longer Required Applicants for a Blue Card will no longer be needed to demonstrate proficiency in the German language at a specific level.

Previously, persons with a B1 level of German language knowledge could receive a settlement permit after only 21 months of living and working in Germany. Those with knowledge below this level can acquire a Blue Card that is valid for the duration of their employment contract and an additional three months after that.

Professional Experience Will Be Cut Short

Previously, persons with a Blue Card who wanted to work in Germany had to demonstrate that they had the appropriate experience in the sector for which they were offered a position.

Now, possessing a degree in a certain field will enough to apply for such a visa.

“In addition, a low minimum salary threshold for job starters with an academic degree will be created. This makes it easier for young professionals to start work,” the draft law on the changes, notes, which means that for this for this category of people, the minimum salary requirement will be even lower than for those who have experience.

Changing Jobs and Bringing Family Over Made Simple

Another benefit of the revised Blue Card will be the ability for non-EU citizens working in Germany with such a card to move employers within Germany, as well as those who hold a Blue Card issued by another EU country.

“For holders of an EU Blue Card, changing employers will be simplified and regulations will be created for holders of an EU Blue Card issued by another member state of the EU for exercising short- and long-term intra-EU mobility in the Federal Republic of Germany,” the draft law reads.

At the same time, bringing family members to Germany with an EU Blue Card will become easier, while more specifics in this regard will be published in the near future.

Blue Cards for IT Professionals Without Degrees and Individuals Under International Protection

The German Blue Card will shortly be extended to two more categories. According to the approved revisions to German immigration legislation, IT workers who do not have a university degree but can demonstrate certain non-formal qualifications will now be eligible to receive a Blue Card.

Furthermore, persons living in Germany or another EU Member State under international protection will be able to apply for a Blue Card to work in a highly skilled sector in Germany that is in need of personnel.

Why is Germany changing its immigration policies?

Germany, like the rest of Europe, has been hard struck by manpower shortages, particularly post-pandemic. According to a recent labour market analysis released by the German Ministry of Economy, Germany will be short seven million skilled workers in 12 years if essential actions are not taken immediately.

The country has set a record with an annual average of 844,000 job vacancies in 2020. The country is particularly in need of people in the pharmaceutical, engineering, and information technology sectors.

The Federal Government stated in announcing the new immigration policy adjustments that there are approximately 240,000 more positions that need to be filled in 2026 than there are people available.



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