Germany: New Skilled Migration Law

Germany: New Skilled Migration Law

From March 1st, a new German Skilled Immigration Act will come into effect. This will implement many significant changes to the German skilled migration system and provide new opportunities for highly qualified and skilled foreign nationals to access Germany’s labor market.

What has changed?

Some significant changes resulting from the new Skilled Immigration Act include:

As of March 1st, employers will be able to apply for an “accelerated Specialist Procedure” for skilled employees with academic qualifications or 2-year vocational training comparable to German standards. This process will have fixed processing times which are expected to be significantly reduced, especially for those nationals coming from locations with visa appointments at the local German consulate. The accelerated process will also be applicable to dependants.

Additional categories for skilled immigrants will be introduced from March 1st and will include categories for: school-based vocational training of recognised professional qualifications, recognition of foreign professional qualifications, traineeships for foreign nationals with high level German skills and persons with strong professional knowledge in IT and Telecommunications.

New restrictions are being implemented for foreign national professionals over the age of 45. They will need to prove they either already have a sufficient pension in place (prior to entering Germany) or earn a minimum 45,540 Euros.

Importantly, there is a new departure notification requirement. From March 1st onwards, for those employees who are terminating their assignment early (more than 4 weeks prior to the expected end of the assignment), they will now be obligated to notify the local immigration office within 2 weeks of the termination date. Additionally, employers must now notify the local immigration office of their employees’ early termination within 4 weeks of learning of the intended early departure. Failure to meet departure obligations may result in penalties.

What to expect / impact?

It is expected that the implementation of the new skilled immigration law will open up the German labour market to highly skilled foreign migrants and increase its appeal to foreign talent. Please expect processing delays while the new Act is implemented and establishes itself.

For more information regarding the changes to the skilled migration law in Germany, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at 

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Leanne Cottrell
Leanne Cottrell

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