The much-discussed German Skilled Immigration Act will enter into force on March 1, 2020. It will modify in particular the provisions of the German Residence Act (AufenthG). The term skilled workers within the meaning of the new law refers to university graduates and employees with qualified vocational training.
The new regulations are intended to simplify access to the German labor market for skilled workers from so-called third countries–hence from countries that are neither members of the European Union nor the European Economic Area.
In the future, for example, the previous restriction to occupations where Germany is facing a shortage of skilled workers will no longer apply. An examination whether a German person (or person from a European member state) would be available to perform the job will also be obsolete in future.
Thus, anyone who can provide evidence of a concrete job offer and who has the corresponding qualifications will principally be able to enter Germany to take up employment and stay in the country.
In addition, entering the country and residing in Germany for the purpose of searching for employment have also been simplified. In the future, skilled workers within the meaning of the law will be allowed to stay in Germany for up to six months and search for a suitable job during that time. The only requirements are proof of sufficient language skills and coverage of their basic living expenses for the duration of the stay, since they will not be eligible to receive social benefits. Until now, such a regulation existed exclusively for academics.
The aim of the law is to integrate foreign skilled workers on a permanent basis and to offer them a perspective in Germany. In the future, skilled workers with a university degree or those who have completed German vocational training can obtain a settlement permit after two years of employment. Skilled workers with foreign vocational training can obtain a settlement permit after four years of employment.