What is the change? The German government has announced that a new skilled immigration law will take effect March 1, 2020.

What does the change mean? The law will provide expanded opportunities for skilled non-EU nationals to work or search for work in Germany. It will also create a fast-track application process for skilled workers and broaden employer notification requirements in some cases.

  • Implementation time frame: March 1, 2020.
  • Visas/permits affected:Work permits.
  • Who is impacted: Employers and skilled non-EU nationals interested in working in Germany.
  • Impact on processing times: The law will create a new fast-track process for skilled workers in an attempt to ease a lengthy application process.
  • Business impact: The new law will ease some requirements and procedures for employers recruiting non-EU high-skilled workers.

Additional information: The law will:

  • Open opportunities for high-skilled non-EU workers to enter the German labor market on the basis of (1) a job offer, (2) a recognized professional qualification, and (3) some German language skills.
  • Allow specialists in shortage occupations the chance to work in Germany without a formal degree, provided they have a job offer and practical professional experience.
  • Allow individuals seeking jobs on the basis of their vocational training to search for work in Germany for up to six months.
  • Introduce a new fast-track application process for skilled workers. This process will consolidate application steps through a central immigration office per state and will allow employers to seek all required approvals and permissions on a “one-stop-shop” basis.
  • Broaden obligations of employers to notify authorities about significant changes in employment or early termination.

Analysis & Comments: The law will open up work opportunities in Germany for skilled non-EU workers and could lead to a faster application process. The law will also increase notification requirements for employers, but, overall, will help employers meet workforce demands. More detailed information is expected closer to the March 1 implementation date.

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