The 3 columns of the new Skilled labor immigration policy
06 December 2022
The Federal Cabinet presented the key points on skilled labor immigration on 30 November 2022. With the implementation of the cornerstones, the immigration law for skilled workers is to be further developed and modernized. The immigration of skilled workers is to rest on 3 columns in the future:
1. COLUMN: SKILLED WORKERS
As before, it includes:
- The EU Blue Card for foreign university and college graduates
- and the national residence permit for foreign skilled workers with a German degree or a qualification recognized in Germany (university graduates or those with vocational qualifications).
In addition, the following measures are planned:
- Educational migration to attract skilled workers, e.g. by moving to Germany to take up vocational training or studies, is to be further strengthened.
- In future, skilled workers as defined in Section 18 (3) of the Residence Act should be able to take up any qualified employment (cf. privileges of the EU Blue Card).
- The existing salary thresholds for the EU Blue Card are to be lowered (to 1.25 times the average salary or 1.0 times in the case of shortage occupations), thus creating more attractive conditions for newcomers to the profession.
- The subsequent submission of documents after entry as well as the extension of the duration of measures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications under section 16d (3) of the Residence Act in the case of partial equivalence will be made possible.
- The period for obtaining the general settlement permit is to be shortened to three years (section 18c (1) Residence Act).
Aim: Better conditions for foreign professionals
2. COLUMN: EXPERIENCE
- Third-country nationals are to be allowed to immigrate if they have acquired at least two years of professional experience and a professional qualification of at least two years that is recognized by the state in their country of origin; in the future, it is to be waived in non-regulated professions that the qualification must be formally recognized in Germany.
- Further improvements are planned for IT specialists with professional experience; the salary threshold is to be lowered adapted to that for EU Blue Cards (shortage occupations)) and proof of German language skills is to be waived completely.
- Even if the salary threshold is not reached, with the recognition partnership in parallel it should be possible in future to take up employment in Germany if, in parallel, the recognition of the degree will be implemented in a timely manner. In return, the future skilled worker should be able to take up employment in Germany from day one, even though their professional qualification is not yet recognized, insofar as this is permitted under professional law. This also applies if qualifications are still necessary.
Aim: Easier access to labor market for people with work experience
3. COLUMN: POTENTIAL
- Furthermore, the introduction of an opportunity card is planned for the job search, which will be based on a transparent and unbureaucratic points system. The selection criteria will include qualifications, language skills, professional experience, reference to Germany and age.
- In the case of a recognized qualification, the criteria should either be waived completely, or, in the case of partial comparability, the requirements should be eased.
- The opportunity card is intended to facilitate the sometimes difficult search for a job from abroad and offer attractive opportunities for rehearsal work or part-time employment.
Aim: Opportunity for job search
- In the case of acute labor shortages in areas without special qualification requirements, a contingent path should be opened for short-term employment and at the same time protected from wage dumping by collective agreements and a social insurance obligation.
- In addition, the Western Balkans regulation (§26 para. 2 employment regulations) should be abolished and the quota should at least be significantly increased and an extension to other countries should be sought.
- Germany should be promoted more strongly as a country of immigration and support with language acquisition should be further expanded.
- Furthermore, recognition procedures for foreign vocational qualifications should be improved and accelerated.
The further development of the legal framework is to be assessed positively from the point of view of the right of residence. The decisive factor will now be how the draft law is implemented and, above all, whether the urgently needed staffing of the immigration authorities is improved. Less than the legal framework, this is currently often the greater hurdle to entry as well as to filling vacancies with the urgently needed professionals.
The planned improved transparency in the administrative process as well as the digitalization of the visa procedure are overdue. We see the planned greater involvement of employers in the process as a positive signal of the transfer of responsibility to the stakeholders. We will keep an eye on the draft law in January 2023 and especially on its practical implementation.