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Coming to NRW

Residence permit for employees

Germany’s Skilled Immigration Act is opening up the German labor market to skilled workers. Further facilitation is planned for in 2023. The Act stipulates the conditions under which qualified professionals from outside the EU can work in Germany. Non-EU-citizens who would like to work in Germany still require a residence permit for employment. 

Besides this legislation, instruments such as the EU Blue Card and ICT Card provide further options for foreign employees to access the German labor market.

Qualified professionals

Qualified professionals include university graduates and persons who have successfully completed vocational training for at least two years. 

Qualified professionals can be granted a residence permit for up to four years. A permanent settlement permit can be granted after four years.

In general, residence permits for qualified professionals are issued where the following requirements have been met: 

  • applicants have a qualification officially recognized in Germany, 

  • a concrete job offer, and 

  • approval from the Federal Employment Agency (FEA).

Licence confirmation

In addition, a license must exist or be confirmed for professions that require a professional license, e.g. engineers and medical professions.

Accelerated administrative procedure

The Skilled Immigartion Act features an accelerated adminstrative procedure for an additional fee.

Fast track procedure skilled workers

Official recognition of qualification

Employee qualifications (academic and vocational) not obtained in Germany must be checked for equivalence with German qualifications and officially recognized before coming to Germany

Exception for IT specialists

An exception is made for IT specialists with an annual salary of at least EUR 52,560 (2023), having gained at least three years of relevant professional experience during the past seven years.

The Central Service Point for Recognition has a pilot function in informing about the recognition procedure and serves as a central contact to applicants during the recognition process. The recognition procedure takes place at the federal state level and the competence of an authority depends on the specific qualification.

Please see the Recognition in Germany portal for further information on the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

Approval from the Federal Employment Agency

The Federal Employment Agency (FEA) must issue its approval before a foreign employee can be hired in Germany. An approval may be issued if a foreign employee is hired on the same terms and conditions of employment as comparable German employees (especially in terms of wages and working hours). Moreover, the skilled worker must be employed in a role appropriate to his/her qualifications.

The FEA also checks if a domestic employment can be demonstrated in the specific case. Please see the FEA website (link: www.arbeitsagentur.de/en/german-labour-market) for further information about the approval procedure.

Exempted groups

Certain professional groups have a right to a residence permit without requiring the approval of the FEA. These include, among others:

• Scientific research personnel

• EU Blue Card applicants

• ICT Card applicants

Senior executives, managing directors and specialists

A residence permit may also be granted to: Senior executives

Members of a body legally representing a legal entity (e.g. managing director of a GmbH) Persons who have specialist knowledge – with particular relevance for the company – for the carrying out of a domestic qualified employment.

An approval from the Federal Employment Agency (FEA) is also required for these group of employees. The FEA approval may be granted if an employment status exists and if the foreign employee is hired on the same terms and conditions of employment as comparable German employees. The FEA performs an overall assessment of the individual case. A specific professional qualification is not required.

Feel free to contact us!

NRW.Global Business GmbH

Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf, Germany