According to s 18of the German Immigration Act, a foreigner can get a German employment visa (work visa), if the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) has agreed on the visa.
Thus, because of the fact, that the Federal Employment Agency is involved in the issuance of the employment visa, the whole process can be a lengthy one.
The following steps are part of the process to get the work visa for Germany:
1) Appointment at the Embassy
If the foreigner has a job offer or already a work contract with a company based in Germany he has to make an appointment at the German Embassy in his home country to submit the necessary documents to the embassy.
The following documents are required for the work visa:
- Valid passport with copies
- 2 application forms
- 3 passport photos
- A signed copy of the employment contract with the company or a written job offer by a company based in Germany
- Documents proofing the qualifications of the applicant
- Proof of adequate health insurance coverage
However, the embassy might ask the applicant for further documents.
2) Involvement of the Federal Office of Administration (Bundesverwaltungsamt)
After receipt, the embassy will send the application and the documents to the Federal Office of Administration, which stores the data in the Visa file and makes certain queries about the applicant.
3) Involvement of the competent Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany
Thereafter, the embassy will contact the competent Immigration Authority in Germany. The competent Immigration Authority will be the one located at the place where the foreigner wants to settle in Germany.
The Immigration Office then checks whether the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) has to be participated in the visa process. Generally this is the case.
If the Federal Employment Agency must give its consent, the Immigration Office will submit the documents to the Federal Employment Agency.
4) Involvement of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit)
The Federal Employment Agency then checks whether the employment of the foreigner concerned does not have any negative consequences on the German labour market, especially with regard to the structure of employment, the region and the sector.
Since there is a shortage of skilled workers in many professions in Germany, the Federal Employment Office checks whether the profession of the foreigner is one listed in the “white list”.
The professions in the whitelist were selected based on the skilled workers bottleneck analysis by the Federal Employment Agency and which is published on the Internet.
Professions listed in the white list are for example:
- Mechatronics professions
- Automation technology professions
- Electrical industrial engineering professions
- Health and nursing professions
- Elderly care professions
The Federal Employment agency then checks if the job positions can be filled with a suitable German worker, because filling a vacancy with foreign applicants is only acceptable for these professions if the vacancy has been made transparent to the public through public tender beforehand.
If there is no suitable German worker for the position the Federal Employment office will give its consent to the competent Immigration Office.
5) Decision of the Immigration Office
If there are no other obstacles, the German Immigration Office will then give its consent to the embassy.
6) Decision of the Embassy
The final decision however, lies with the embassy, where the foreigner applied for the work visa. The embassy will then inform the foreigner about its decision and if the decision is positive he can come to the embassy and pick up his visa.
If the visa has been denied, the decision can be challenged either with a Remonstration or with a lawsuit at the administrative court in Berlin.
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