New Immigration Law in Germany | 2023 Updates

In light of the persistent demand for skilled labor, the new immigration law in Germany, known as the Skilled Immigration Act, has undergone crucial updates to attract and retain international talent.

Implemented in June 2023, these reforms address the bureaucratic hurdles, expand the definition of qualified professionals, and introduce innovative pathways for skilled immigrants.

Update – The new immigration law will be implemented in phases and the first phase was implemented on 18.11.2023.

Summary of the changes as of 18.11.2023

1. The gross annual salary requirement for a Blue Card is reduced to 43,800 Euros.

2. Certain in-demand occupations require an even lower salary of 39,682.80 Euros.

3. The law expands the list of high-demand professions like veterinarians and teachers.

4. IT specialists can now get a Blue Card without a university degree, based on work experience and knowledge.

5. The law removes the need for a direct link between academic qualifications and employment.

6. EU Blue Card holders no longer need approval to change employers in the first two years.

Whether you’re an IT specialist, a seasoned professional, or someone with promising potential, this article is a must-read to understand the life-changing opportunities and the streamlined process the updated law offers.

Delve into the specifics and find out how this could be your ticket to a thriving career and life in Germany.

Key Takeaways from the New Immigration Law in Germany

  1. Expansion of the definition of qualified professionals, making it easier for skilled individuals to access the German labor market.
  2. Introduction of the Opportunity Card, based on a points system for individuals with potential.
  3. Additional provisions for IT specialists, recognizing the importance of digital skills in the economy.
  4. Simplification of the immigration process for nationals from the Western Balkan states.
  5. Provisions for family reunification, including residence permits for parents and parents-in-law.
  6. A path for asylum seekers to transition into skilled worker status.

Continue reading for detailed information…

The Need for Skilled Labor in Germany

Germany’s skilled labor shortage is highlighted by staggering statistics. According to data, there were around 1.98 million vacancies in 2022, a number that’s been steadily increasing over the years.

Vacancies in Germany over the last few years

These numbers indicate a critical need for skilled labor to sustain Germany’s economic strength.

The Government’s Skilled Labor Strategy

To address this shortage, the German government has formulated a skilled labor strategy focusing on two primary pillars:

  1. Increasing Labor Force Participation: Encouraging a greater percentage of the domestic population, especially women and older individuals, to participate in the labor force.
  2. Strengthening Education: Investing in initial and continuing education to ensure that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Focus AreaStrategy
Increasing Labor ParticipationEncouraging participation among women and older individuals
Strengthening EducationInvesting in initial and continuing education programs

While these strategies are crucial, they alone are not sufficient to overcome the skilled labor shortage.

This leads us to the third and vital component – Skilled Immigration.

The Role of Skilled Immigration in Economic Growth

Qualified immigration plays a pivotal role in bolstering Germany’s skilled workforce.

Attracting talent from across the globe, not only helps in filling the labor gap but also brings diverse perspectives and innovation.

International professionals contribute significantly to the country’s economic development, innovation, and global competitiveness.

Moreover, they support the social security systems by contributing to pension and healthcare funds.

In conclusion, the updated Skilled Immigration Act of 2023 represents a turning point in Germany’s approach to addressing its skilled labor shortage.

Through this act, the country aims to position itself as an attractive destination for skilled professionals from around the world.

In the following sections of this blog post, we will dive deeper into the specifics of the updated Skilled Immigration Act and explore how it facilitates and encourages skilled immigration to Germany.

Modernizing with the new immigration law in Germany

As we delve into the recent updates to the Skilled Immigration Act, it becomes evident that this overhaul is much more than just a revision of policies; it is part of a broader vision to modernize Germany.

The Federal Government recognizes that attracting international skilled workers is critical to ensuring the nation’s economic future and progress.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Vision for a Modern Germany

On March 29, 2023, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the Bundestag and articulated the importance of the updated Skilled Immigration Act in modernizing Germany. In his words:

“It is important that Germany actually gets the skilled workers. And for that, we need the most modern immigration law for skilled workers in the European Union, one that can be seen in a global comparison and is at the forefront. It is a further step towards the modernization of Germany, a further step towards ensuring economic growth for the future as well, and a further step towards overcoming decades of standstill.”

These words from the Chancellor underscore the strategic significance of the Act as a vehicle to propel Germany into a future of sustained economic growth and innovation.

The Federal Government’s Goals and Actions

The overarching goal of the updated Skilled Immigration Act is to make Germany more accessible and attractive to skilled workers from around the world.

The Federal Government aims to achieve this by:

  1. Reducing Bureaucratic Hurdles: Streamlining the immigration process is paramount. Bureaucratic hurdles and the required knowledge of German have been significant barriers for many who wished to immigrate to Germany. The government wants to eliminate these hurdles.
  2. Facilitating Quick Integration into the Job Market: As Interior Minister Nancy Faeser put it, “We want skilled workers to be able to come to Germany quickly and get off to a flying start. If people bring work experience or personal potential, we will enable them to gain a foothold in our job market.”
Goals of the Federal GovernmentActions
Reducing Bureaucratic HurdlesSimplifying the immigration process
Quick Integration into Job MarketProviding support and resources for immediate job placement

This two-pronged approach not only aims to attract skilled professionals but also to ensure that they can efficiently integrate into the German labor market, contributing their skills and expertise to the economy.

As we continue through this article, we will further dissect the provisions of the updated Skilled Immigration Act and discuss in detail the new pathways it creates for skilled professionals seeking opportunities in Germany.

From qualifications and experience to the introduction of the opportunity card, we’ll explore how the Act is geared towards making Germany a magnet for global talent.

Three Paths to Germany for Skilled Immigrants

Germany’s updated Skilled Immigration Act has paved the way for skilled immigrants by outlining three distinct paths.

In this section, we will delve into the first path – Qualification, which specifically highlights the changes in the EU Blue Card and how it has evolved to accommodate a wider range of professionals.

1. Introduction to the EU Blue Card and its Significance for IT Specialists

The EU Blue Card has been an essential instrument for skilled professionals outside the European Union, who aspire to work in Germany.

It is particularly significant for IT specialists, who are in high demand in the German job market.

Originally, the EU Blue Card was targeted primarily at highly qualified professionals with a specific emphasis on IT specialists.

It was designed to attract foreign professionals to fill the shortage in the IT sector.

With this card, IT professionals could enter Germany with a recognized qualification and meet certain criteria.

With the new immigration law in Germany, the scope of the EU Blue Card has broadened, and several changes have been made to make it more accessible.

Salary Threshold

One of the notable changes is the lowering of the salary threshold for IT specialists. This change allows a wider range of IT professionals to qualify for the Blue Card, making Germany an even more attractive destination for them.

Length of Professional Experience

Previously, IT specialists needed to have a certain amount of professional experience to qualify for the EU Blue Card. This requirement has been relaxed, shortening the length of professional experience needed, thus accommodating professionals at different stages in their careers.

Language Requirements

Another significant change is the waiver of the German language requirement for IT specialists. This is a major step in reducing barriers, as language was often cited as a significant hurdle for many professionals.

Expansion to Include Anyone with a Degree

Previously, the EU Blue Card was somewhat restrictive. Now, the updated Skilled Immigration Act expands the eligibility to anyone with a degree. This means that professionals in various fields, not just IT, can now take advantage of the EU Blue Card to seek employment in Germany.

ParameterBefore UpdateAfter Update
Salary ThresholdHigher, restricted to certain bracketsLowered, more inclusive
Professional ExperienceLonger experience requiredShortened experience requirements
Language RequirementsGerman language often requiredWaived for IT specialists
EligibilityRestricted to IT and certain fieldsExpanded to anyone with a degree

With these changes in the EU Blue Card, Germany has signaled its intention to attract a diverse range of skilled professionals from across the globe.

Particularly for IT specialists, the relaxed criteria signify an abundance of opportunities.

In the subsequent section, we will explore the second path to Germany, which focuses on experience-based entry for skilled immigrants.

2. Experience: A New Avenue for Specialists with Foreign Qualifications

The second path laid out by the new immigration law in Germany focuses on experience, enabling specialists with foreign qualifications and work experience to establish their careers in Germany.

In this section, we’ll discuss the eligibility criteria, the reduction in bureaucracy, and the introduction of a new concept called the recognition partnership.

Eligibility for Specialists with Foreign Qualifications and Work Experience

With the updated Skilled Immigration Act, Germany is reaching out to skilled professionals who have acquired their qualifications abroad.

These individuals are now eligible to come to Germany as specialists, provided they have at least two years of professional experience and a professional qualification recognized by the state in their home country.

This is a noteworthy change because, in the past, foreign qualifications had to be recognized in Germany, which could be a lengthy and complicated process.

The new law allows for a more streamlined process, encouraging specialists from diverse fields to consider Germany as a viable option for career growth.

Reduction in Bureaucracy and Introduction of Salary Threshold

A significant aspect of this path is the reduction in bureaucracy, which is aimed at shortening procedures and facilitating a smoother transition for specialists into the German labor market.

An essential part of this path is the introduction of a salary threshold.

This threshold is meant to ensure that the incoming skilled workers have favorable long-term prospects in the German job market.

If a specialist does not meet the required salary threshold, they must continue to have their professional qualifications recognized.

The salary threshold acts as a benchmark, ensuring that specialists are compensated fairly and can sustain a decent standard of living in Germany.

The Recognition Partnership between Employees and Employers

One of the innovative features of the updated Skilled Immigration Act is the introduction of a recognition partnership.

This partnership is designed to ensure that the procedure for recognizing foreign qualifications does not impede the specialist’s start of employment in Germany.

Under this partnership, employees and employers can work together to facilitate the recognition process.

This means that, while the employee is already working in Germany, the employer can assist in getting the qualifications recognized, thus expediting the process and ensuring that the specialist can fully integrate into the German labor market.

ParameterDescription
Eligibility CriteriaMinimum of two years of professional experience and foreign qualifications recognized by the state in the home country.
Reduction in BureaucracySimplified processes for faster integration into the German job market.
Salary ThresholdEnsures good long-term prospects on the job market.
Recognition PartnershipCooperation between employees and employers to expedite the recognition of foreign qualifications.
Opening Doors for Experienced Specialists

By focusing on experience and foreign qualifications, Germany is opening its doors to a wide spectrum of skilled professionals.

Through reduced bureaucracy and the innovative recognition partnership, specialists can now find it easier and more appealing to bring their expertise to Germany.

In the next section, we’ll explore the third path under the updated Skilled Immigration Act, which introduces an opportunity card based on a points system for individuals who may not have a specific job offer but possess potential for the German job market.

3. Potential: Unlocking Opportunities with the Opportunity Card

The third path established by the updated Skilled Immigration Act is aimed at individuals who may not have a specific job offer but possess the potential for the German job market.

Through the introduction of the Opportunity Card, Germany is fostering an environment that acknowledges and encourages diverse talent.

This section delves into the details of the Opportunity Card, the points system, and the criteria that come into play.

Introduction of the Opportunity Card

The Opportunity Card is a novel concept introduced under the updated Skilled Immigration Act.

This card is aimed at attracting individuals with high potential who may not yet have secured employment in Germany.

It serves as an entry pass that allows people to come to Germany and explore employment opportunities while here.

This approach is significant as it acknowledges that some individuals have a combination of skills, qualifications, and other attributes that can be beneficial to the German economy, even if they do not have a job offer at the time of application.

Understanding the Points System

The Opportunity Card operates on a points system, wherein applicants are awarded points based on various criteria.

The idea is that individuals who score above a certain threshold in this points system are likely to make a valuable contribution to the German labor market.

CriteriaDescription
QualificationsPoints are awarded based on the level of education and qualifications.
Language SkillsKnowledge of German and English languages.
Professional ExperiencePoints for years of relevant work experience.
Connection to GermanyPoints for having family, studied, or lived in Germany.
AgeYounger applicants may be awarded more points.
Partner’s PotentialPoints for qualifications and potential of life partner or spouse.

Looking for a Calculator instead? Use our free Opportunity card points calculator

Qualifications

Points are awarded for educational qualifications. Individuals with higher education levels may receive more points.

Language Skills

Knowledge of the German language is highly valuable, and points are awarded accordingly. Proficiency in English is also considered.

Professional Experience

Relevant work experience, especially in sectors where there is a shortage of skilled labor in Germany, can earn applicants additional points.

Connection to Germany

Having a connection to Germany, such as family members residing in the country, previous studies, or living experience in Germany, can also contribute to the points tally.

Age

Younger applicants may be awarded more points, considering their potential to contribute to the workforce for a longer duration.

Partner’s Potential

Interestingly, the points system also considers the qualifications and potential of the applicant’s life partner or spouse.

A Game-Changer for Global Talent

The Opportunity Card represents a paradigm shift in Germany’s approach to skilled immigration.

By focusing on the potential of individuals and offering a more flexible pathway, it is setting the stage for a diverse pool of talent to enter and enrich the German labor market.

Next, we will look into how the new immigration law in Germany has further lowered hurdles for skilled workers from specific regions and delve into the changes for IT specialists, who are in high demand in Germany.

Do you have further questions?

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Additional Changes and Provisions

The new immigration law in Germany also encompasses additional provisions and changes that further facilitate the immigration of skilled workers from third countries, specifically targeting certain regions and professions.

In this section, we will explore the changes pertaining to the Western Balkan states, IT specialists, and asylum seekers.

The Western Balkans Regulation

One of the noteworthy amendments is the extension and enlargement of the Western Balkans Regulation.

The quota has been doubled, which means that up to 50,000 nationals from the six Western Balkan states can immigrate to Germany every year.

This represents a substantial increase and signifies Germany’s commitment to easing skilled immigration from these regions.

Nationals from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are eligible under this regulation.

These individuals can enter Germany for any job without having to prove professional qualifications.

This simplification of entry requirements presents significant opportunities for individuals from these countries to explore and secure employment in Germany.

IT Specialists: Fostering a Digital Future

Germany recognizes the critical role of IT specialists in driving innovation and sustaining economic growth.

The updated act introduces specific provisions for IT specialists, considering the high demand for these professionals in the country.

Specific Provisions for IT Specialists
ChangesDescription
Lowered Salary ThresholdThe minimum salary requirement has been lowered.
Reduction in Work ExperienceLesser work experience is now required.
Waiving Off Language RequirementsIT specialists are no longer required to prove their knowledge of German.
Implications for IT Specialists

These provisions mean that IT specialists can now find it easier to immigrate to Germany.

With the lowered salary threshold and reduced work experience requirements, a wider pool of IT professionals can qualify for immigration.

Moreover, the waiving off of language requirements acknowledges the global nature of the IT industry and removes potential barriers for talented individuals who may not be proficient in German.

Asylum Seekers: A Path to Skilled Worker Status

An important provision in the updated act pertains to asylum seekers who entered Germany before March 29, 2023.

Asylum seekers who meet certain conditions, such as having the appropriate qualifications and a job offer, or those who are already in an employment relationship, can now transition from the asylum procedure to applying for a residence permit as a skilled worker without having to leave the country.

This is a significant change as it offers a pathway for individuals seeking asylum to transition into the German workforce in a streamlined manner.

It acknowledges the potential of asylum seekers to contribute to the economy and provides them with an opportunity to build a stable life in Germany.

Family Reunification

Family reunification is an important aspect of immigration, as it helps in creating a more inclusive society and supports the integration of skilled workers.

Recognizing the significance of family ties, the updated Skilled Immigration Act introduces new provisions for family members of skilled workers.

New Provisions for Parents and Parents-in-law of Skilled Workers

In an effort to ensure the well-being and social integration of skilled workers, the updated act has introduced provisions allowing parents and parents-in-law of skilled workers to be granted residence permits for family reunification.

This is a notable change as it expands the scope of family members who can join the skilled workers in Germany.

Criteria for Residence Permits for Family Members

For parents and parents-in-law to be eligible for residence permits, the skilled worker must reside permanently in Germany.

Furthermore, it is essential that the skilled worker has stable employment and accommodation to support the family members.

Extension of the Opportunity Card

The Opportunity Card is a new provision introduced in the updated Skilled Immigration Act, aimed at individuals who have potential in the German job market but do not yet have a specific job offer.

The act also provides a provision for extending the Opportunity Card.

Conditions under which the Opportunity Card can be extended

The Opportunity Card can be extended by up to two years if the foreign skilled worker meets certain conditions.

The requirements for the extension of the Opportunity Card include:

  • Having an employment contract or a binding job offer for qualified employment in Germany.
  • Approval by the Federal Employment Agency.

This extension provision gives individuals additional time to secure employment in their field and contributes to a smoother transition into the German workforce.

Conclusion

With an acute shortage of skilled labor, these reforms are expected to boost Germany’s economy by filling critical vacancies and fostering innovation.

Furthermore, by creating a more diverse and inclusive society, it enhances cultural exchange and strengthens social cohesion.

For skilled professionals around the world, Germany has opened its doors wider than ever.

With reduced bureaucratic hurdles, a more inclusive approach to family reunification, and special provisions for certain professions and regions, Germany is undoubtedly one of the most appealing destinations for international skilled workers looking to build a thriving career.

In closing, the updated Skilled Immigration Act heralds a new era for Germany, one characterized by diversity, innovation, and economic prosperity. Skilled workers worldwide are encouraged to explore the myriad opportunities that Germany has to offer.

FAQs

Q1. What is the Skilled Immigration Act in Germany?

The Skilled Immigration Act is a set of immigration laws in Germany that aim to ease the process for qualified professionals from outside the European Union to move to Germany to work. The act was updated in June 2023 to further streamline the process and address the shortage of skilled labor in the country.

Q2. Who is considered a qualified professional under the updated Skilled Immigration Act?

Under the updated act, a qualified professional is someone who either has a recognized university degree or has a foreign professional qualification with at least two years of work experience. IT specialists are also given special consideration under this act.

Q3. What is the EU Blue Card and how has it changed with the updated Skilled Immigration Act?

The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for highly qualified non-EU nationals who have a university degree and a job offer with a certain minimum salary. With the updated act, the salary threshold for IT specialists has been lowered, and the requirement for German language skills has been waived. The act now also allows anyone with a degree to take on any qualified job.

Q4. What is the Opportunity Card introduced in the updated Skilled Immigration Act?

The Opportunity Card is a new provision that allows individuals who do not yet have a specific job offer but possess potential for the German job market to immigrate. It operates on a points system based on qualifications, language skills, professional experience, connections to Germany, and the potential of life partners.

Q5. Can family members of skilled workers immigrate to Germany under the updated act?

Yes, the updated act includes provisions for the family reunification of skilled workers. This includes parents and parents-in-law of skilled workers, who can now be granted residence permits for family reunification if the skilled worker resides permanently in Germany.

Q6. How has the act made it easier for IT specialists to immigrate to Germany?

For IT specialists, the updated act has lowered the salary threshold, reduced the duration of necessary work experience, and waived the requirement to prove German language skills. Moreover, IT specialists can immigrate even without a recognized qualification.

Q7. What is the Western Balkans Regulation and how has it been modified?

The Western Balkans Regulation allows nationals from six Western Balkan states to immigrate to Germany for employment. The updated act extends this regulation and doubles the quota, allowing up to 50,000 nationals from these states to immigrate to Germany annually without having to prove professional qualifications.

Q8. Are there any provisions for asylum seekers in the updated Skilled Immigration Act?

Yes, asylum seekers who entered Germany before March 29, 2023, and have appropriate qualifications and a job offer, can transition from the asylum procedure to applying for a residence permit as a skilled worker without having to leave the country.

Q9. How can the Opportunity Card be extended?

The Opportunity Card can be extended by up to two years if the holder has an employment contract or a binding job offer for qualified employment in Germany and receives approval from the Federal Employment Agency.

Q10. What are the implications of the updated Skilled Immigration Act for Germany’s economy?

The updated act is expected to have positive implications for Germany’s economy by addressing the shortage of skilled labor, attracting global talent, and fostering innovation. By making immigration processes more efficient and inclusive, the act contributes to the country’s economic growth and social integration.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this blog post regarding the new immigration law in Germany is for general informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, laws and regulations are subject to change, and this post may not reflect the most current legal developments. The author and publisher are not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for any actions taken based on the information provided herein. It is advisable to consult a legal expert or immigration professional for specific advice pertaining to individual circumstances.”


Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. We strongly advise readers to conduct their due diligence or consult with a professional legal or immigration consultant before taking any action based on the content of this post. "Germany Is Calling" or the author of this post does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of the information provided.

42 thoughts on “New Immigration Law in Germany | 2023 Updates”

  1. Hello sir, I live in Hamburg Germany, my passport is of German nationality. How can I get my brother, he wants to come here and work. Please Help me, he wants to come from India, wants to work.

  2. Hi Amarjit

    Great that you are interested in moving to Germany. Please be patient until we have more clarity on the new law.
    Good luck!

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