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  1. German Immigration Law: Immigration to Germany easier according to the Skilled Immigration Act 2020

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    The German economy continues to need skilled workers and is no longer able to find enough on the national and European labor market. It is therefore increasingly dependent on skilled workers on the international labor market to fulfill its needs. However, up to now these have had to overcome high hurdles to obtain a residence and work permit. For this reason, the Bundestag (German Parliament) passed the Skilled Immigration Act, which is intended to facilitate the integration of international skilled workers into the German labor market. In addition to ensuring a sufficient number of skilled workers, it is also intended to help strengthen the social security systems through new employees. To achieve this, §§ 18a, 18b and 18c of the Residence Act (AufenthG) were revised. They regulate the procedure for granting work and residence permits (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and settlement permits (Niederlassungserlaubnis) for skilled workers with vocational training and academic degrees. The main points of the new German Skilled Immigration Act and the requirements of an work/residence permit will be presented and explained in more detail below.

    § 18a of the Residence Act – skilled workers with vocational training

    18a of the Residence Act allows the authorities to grant a work/residence permit to a foreign skilled worker with vocational training so that he or she can pursue qualified employment.

    What is a „skilled worker with vocational training“?

    According to § 18 Abs. 3 Nr.1 AufenthG, a skilled worker with professional training is any foreigner who has a german qualified professional training or a professional qualification equivalent to a german qualified professional training. According to § 2 (12a) AufenthG, a domestic qualified vocational training is a vocational training which has been completed in a state-recognized or comparable training occupation and lasts at least two years. A list of the officially recognized training professions can be found at https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/de/publication/download/16754

    The vocational training does not have to have taken place in Germany. An equivalent foreign qualification is also sufficient. It is equivalent if there are no significant differences to German training. A diploma or certificate is important as proof of training and must be recognized in Germany. Further information on the recognition of a foreign professional qualification can be found at https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/en/pro/recognition-procedure.php

    In summary, you are a skilled worker with vocational training if you:

    • are a foreigner from a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland country
    • Have completed at least 2 years of German or foreign vocational training
    • The foreign vocational training was officially recognized (certificate important!)

    For a work/residence permit according to § 18a AufenthG it is also important that the skilled worker has a qualified employment in Germany in which he/she has been trained. On the one hand, it must be a job that can only be done with the appropriate training, on the other hand, it must be just such a job. A trained scaffolder may not work as a hairdresser in Germany, for example, although this is a qualified occupation. Rather, he must work as a scaffolder in Germany, since he is trained in this profession. This has the sense that skilled workers should come to Germany in order to compensate for the shortage of skilled workers in corresponding branches. Since the German social systems are also to be strengthened, it only makes sense to employ skilled workers in qualified jobs with appropriate pay.

    Which requirements must still be met to obtain a work/residence permit according to § 18a AufenthG?

    The other requirements for a work/residence permit for a skilled worker with vocational training are found in §§ 5 and 18 of the Residence Act. They read as follows:

    • Proof of securing livelihood
    • Proof of identity (identification documents, birth certificate, etc.)
    • Valid passport
    • Concrete job offer
    • Approval by the Federal Employment Agency
    • If you are over 45 years of age and are receiving a work/residence permit for the first time, your monthly salary must also be at least €3,795 gross (2020) or you must be able to prove that you have a secure pension plan
    • There must also be no interest in expulsion

    How long is the work/residence permit valid?

    According to § 18 (4) AufenthG the work/residence permit is granted for 4 years. However, if the employment contract is limited in time, the residence permit is only issued for the period of the employment.

    § 18b AufenthG – Skilled workers with academic degree

    § 18a (1) of the Residence Act allows the authorities to grant a work and residence permit to a foreign skilled worker with academic degree so that he or she can pursue qualified employment.

    What is a „skilled worker with academic degree“?

    According to § 18 (3) No. 2 AufenthG, a skilled worker with academic degree is any foreigner who holds a German, a recognized foreign or a comparable German foreign university degree. The university degree can come from a university or a university of applied sciences. Vocational training may also be considered under certain circumstances, provided it is equivalent to a university degree. In addition to German degrees, foreign university degrees are also accepted. You can find out whether your foreign university degree is also accepted at https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/hochschulabschluesse.html

    There is no need for a recognition procedure of the university degree, under certain circumstances only the comparability must be proven.

    In summary, you are a skilled worker with academic degree, if you

    • you are a foreigner from a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland country
    • Have a German or foreign recognized or comparable university degree (university, university of applied sciences, possibly education)

    For a residence permit according to § 18b (1) AufenthG it is also important that the skilled worker has a qualified employment in Germany in which he/she has been trained. It must therefore be a job that can only be performed with a corresponding qualification, and it must also be just such a job. A trained doctor may not work as a scaffolder in Germany, for example, although this is a qualified occupation. Rather, he must work as a doctor in Germany, since he is trained in this profession. In this case, however, he could also work as a nurse, since he is qualified accordingly, even if he were employed below his qualification.

    What other requirements must be met in order to obtain a work/residence permit according to § 18b (1) AufenthG?

    The further requirements for a work and residence permit for a skilled worker with academic training can be found in §§ 5 and 18 of the Residence Act. They read as follows

    • Proof of securing livelihood
    • Proof of identity (identification documents, birth certificate, etc.)
    • Valid passport
    • Concrete job offer
    • Approval by the Federal Employment Agency
    • If you are over 45 years of age and are receiving a work/residence permit for the first time, your monthly salary must also be at least €3,795 gross (2020) or you must be able to prove that you have a secure pension plan
    • There must be no interest in expulsion

    How long is the residence permit valid?

    According to § 18 (4) AufenthG the work/residence permit is granted for 4 years. However, if the employment contract is limited in time, the work and residence permit is only issued for the period of the employment.

    § 18c (1) AufenthG – Settlement permit for skilled workers

    In § 18c (1) AufenthG, the authorities are instructed without discretion to grant skilled workers a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) under certain conditions. This does not even require the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.

    Which skilled workers are covered by the regulation?

    The regulation of § 18c (1) AufenthG is generally aimed at all foreign skilled workers, i.e. both with vocational training and academic degree.

    Which requirements do I have to meet as a foreign skilled worker in order to obtain a settlement permit?

    Length of stay

    Those who are recognized as specialists must first have held a residence permit as such for 4 years.

    However, this period is reduced to 2 years if the skilled worker has acquired his vocational training or academic education in Germany.

    Workplace

    The skilled worker must also have a job. As described above, a skilled worker may not work below his or her qualification.

    Pension insurance

    In addition, in order to obtain a settlement permit, the skilled worker must prove that he or she has paid into the statutory pension insurance for 48 months or prove that he or she has an appropriate pension plan.

    This period is again reduced to 24 months if the vocational training or academic education was successfully completed in Germany.

    German language skills

    In order to do so, you must speak German sufficiently well, i.e. you must prove that you have B1 language level according to § 2 (11) AufenthG.

    Other requirements

    Furthermore, the general requirements for a settlement permit according to § 9 AufenthG apply. It should be noted here that the skilled worker

    – can prove a secure livelihood,

    – A work permit is available

    – An apartment has

    – Has basic knowledge of the legal and social order

    – And there is no interest in deportation

    It is also necessary that the identity is clarified and a passport is available.

    If these requirements are all met, there is a right to the granting of a settlement permit. The settlement permit is then an unlimited work/residence permit.

    Where can I get the work and residence permit or the settlement permit?

    The local immigration office is responsible for granting the permits. You can find the nearest immigration office under https://www.bamf.de/EN/Service/ServiceCenter/BeratungVorOrt/Auslaenderbehoerden/auslaenderbehoerden-node.html

    Important Note: This article has been prepared by mth Tieben & Partner for general information purposes only. Mth Tieben & Partner does not accept any liability to any person or organisation for the use or reliance of the information contained in this article. On any specific matter, kindly contact us by dialing 0049 (0)221 – 80187670 or sending us an email to info@mth-partner.de

    Lawyers in Cologne provide legal advice on German immigration law.

  2. German Immigration Law: The issuance procedure for German employment visa (work visa) according to section 18 of the German Immigration Act.

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    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.

    Important Note: This article has been prepared by mth Tieben & Partner for general information purposes only. Mth Tieben & Partner does not accept any liability to any person or organisation for the use or reliance of the information contained in this article. On any specific matter, kindly contact us by dialing 0221 – 80187670 or sending us an email to info@mth-partner.de

    Lawyers in Cologne provide legal advice on German immigration law.

  3. German Immigration Law: The different international-law, humanitarian or political reasons to get a residence title in Germany.

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    The German Immigration Act contains many provisions on the entry of foreigners into Germany on international-law, humanitarian or political reasons.

    A foreigner may be granted a temporary residence title (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), if the foreigner has been incontestably recognized as being entitled to asylum or incontestably granted refugee status by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge).

    The deportation of foreigners to countries where they may face torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is forbidden under German law. The foreigner may therefore be granted a temporary residence title (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).

    The foreigner may be granted a temporary residence title, if other barriers to the deportation of the foreigner exist (e. g. if the departure is impossible because of legal or other factual reasons).

    A foreigner living abroad may be granted a temporary residence title to come to Germany, if international law or urgent humanitarian reasons exist and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (Innenministerium) has declared the admission of the foreigner necessary because of political reasons.

    Moreover, a foreigner may be granted a temporary residence title (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), if the competent Supreme Federal State Authority (oberste Landesbehörde) has declared the admission of the foreigner necessary because of international law, humanitarian or political reasons.

    Please note that the German Immigration Act generally differentiates between three different kinds of residence titles:

    – The German Visa (Visum)

    – The German temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)

    – The German permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis)

    German_Residence_TitlesPlease find below a list of the international-law, humanitarian or political reasons to get a residence title in Germany according to the German Immigration Act:

    – Temporary Residence permit for admission from abroad granted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, section 22 sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for admission from abroad granted by the competent Supreme Federal State Authority, section 23 Section 1 Sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit granted in special cases, section 23 Section 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Permanent residence permit granted by the competent Supreme Federal State Authority, section 23 Section 2 Sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit granted in cases of hardship, section 23a para 1 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit granted for temporary protection, section 24 para 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for foreigners who are incontestably recognized as persons entitled to asylum, section 25 Section 1 Sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for foreigners who are incontestably recognized as persons entitled to refugee status by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), section 25 Section 2 Sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit if a prohibition of deportation according to section 60 para 2, 3, 5 or 7 of the German Immigration Act exists, section 25 para 3 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit granted because of urgent personal reasons, humanitarian reasons or because of vital public interests, section 25 para 4 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Extension of an existing Temporary Residence permit in cases of hardship, section 25 para 4 sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for victims of human trafficking, section 25 para 4a sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for foreigners whose departure is impossible because of legal or other factual reasons, section 25 paragraph 5 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for foreigners whose deportation is suspended for 18 months, section 25 para 5 sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for well integrated youth/adolescents, section 25a para 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for parents of well integrated youth/adolescents, section 25a para 2 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for siblings of well-integrated youth/adolescents, section 25a para 2, Sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Permanent Residence permit for asylum seekers and convention refugees in possession of a temporary residence permit pursuant to section 25 para 1 or 2 of the last 3 years, section 26 para 3 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Permanent Residence permit  for foreigners holding a temporary residence permit because of international-law, humanitarian or political reasons for more than 7 years, section 26 para 4 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit in order to conduct the asylum procedure, section 55 para 1 Sentence 1 AsylVfG.

    – Probationary Temporary Rsidence permit, section 104a para 1 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for tolerated foreigners, section 23 para 1 sentence 1 in conjunction with section 104a para 1 sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for adult children of tolerated foreigners, section 23 para 1 sentence 1 in conjunction with section 104a para 2 sentence 1 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for unaccompanied refugees, section 23 para 1 sentence 1 in conjunction with section 104a para 2 sentence 2 of the German Immigration Act.

    – Temporary Residence permit for unmarried well-integrated minor children of tolerated foreigners, section 23 para 1 sentence 1 in conjunction with section 104b of the German Immigration Act.

    Important Note: This article has been prepared by mth Tieben & Partner for general information purposes only. Mth Tieben & Partner does not accept any liability to any person or organisation for the use or reliance of the information contained in this article. On any specific matter, kindly contact us by dialing 0221 – 80187670 or sending us an email to info@mth-partner.de

    Lawyers in Cologne provide legal advice on German immigration law.

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  4. German Immigration Law: Visa and Residence Permit for study, language courses and schooling in Germany.

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    Foreign nationals from Non-EU and Non-EEA countries need a visa to come and a residence permit to stay in Germany.

    In order to get a visa the foreign national has to apply at the competent German consulate or embassy in the home country of the applicant.

    The following third-country nationals are not obliged to apply for a visa:

    Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Switzerland and the United States of America.

    If the third-country national has entered into Germany, he has to apply for a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) at the competent immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany.

    The German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) provides different kinds of residence permits, depending on the reason the foreigner wants to stay in Germany:

    – Temporary Residence permit for study purposes, Section 16 para 1 sentence 1 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for study application, Section 16 para 1a of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for job application after graduation, Section 16 para 1 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit to attend language courses, Section 16 para 5 sentence 1, Alt. 1 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for schooling, Section 16 para 5 sentence 1, Alt. 2 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for mobile students from other EU Member States, Section 16 para 1 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for job search after school education, Section 16 para 5b of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence permit for in-firm trainings, Section 17 para 1 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    – Temporary Residence Permit for job search after in-firm training, Section 17 para 3 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).

    The pre-study preparatory measures (for example the language course) listed above, should not take longer than two years. In exceptional cases, an extension can be approved by the competent immigration authority in Germany (Ausländerbehörde).

    The change of the study program or the change of the university must be pre-approved by the competent German immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde).

    A one-time change of the study-course or the university within the first 18 months after the beginning of the courses is generally possible (orientation phase).

    The residence permit for study purposes entitles the student to a certain degree for employment during the studies.

    Even after the successful completion of the course, the residence permit may be extended up to one year to search for an appropriate job.

    There is also a possibility to get a Residence permit for employment or self employment after graduation.

    Important Note: This article has been prepared by mth Tieben & Partner for general information purposes only. Mth Tieben & Partner does not accept any liability to any person or organisation for the use or reliance of the information contained in this article. On any specific matter, kindly contact us by dialing 0221 – 80187670 or sending us an email to info@mth-partner.de

    Lawyers in Cologne provide legal advice on German immigration law.

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