The Immigration Act for Germany: changes to employment and professional recognition from March 2024

The Immigration Act for Germany: changes to employment and professional recognition from March 2024

The new Immigration Act will make it easier for skilled workers with vocational training and people with practical knowledge of their profession to immigrate to Germany. Here are the laws that will apply from March 2024.

Residence for the recognition of a foreign professional qualification

In future, anyone coming to Germany will have more opportunities to obtain professional recognition by taking part in a qualification measure (adaptation period or preparatory course with subsequent knowledge test).
Whereas the residence permit (Section 16 d (1) AufenthG) was previously limited to a maximum of 18 months for this purpose, the visa will now be issued for 24 months when first issued. An extension of a further 12 months up to a maximum residence period of three years is possible. This gives skilled workers and their employers more flexibility in terms of time.
Also good: those who have the strength and time to do another job on the side will be allowed to work an additional 20 hours per week instead of the previous 10 hours.

Employment of skilled workers and labour

Access to the German labour market for nursing assistants from third countries

What is new is that all persons from third countries with nursing training below the three-year regulated specialist training in the health and care sector can be employed. The prerequisite is that these persons can provide proof of a foreign nursing qualification that has been recognised in Germany. The benchmark here is therefore also the German reference occupation of care assistant. It should be noted here that training and professional qualifications are organised differently from state to state. When it comes to recognising your own professional qualification as a care assistant vis-à-vis the German authorities, it therefore depends largely on where you would like to work or will work.

Special regulation for people with professional experience

In future, the requirement for a work visa will apply to all non-regulated professions (these are almost all training professions, not including many medical, nursing and therapeutic professions) in all sectors:

  • You need a recognised professional or university degree in your own country,
  • If it is a vocational qualification, a training period of at least two years is required.
  • At least two years of experience in the desired profession is also required. Formal recognition of the qualification in Germany is not required.

Access to the labour market is also made easier for IT specialists

The required relevant professional experience will be reduced to two years (previously three years). A professional or university degree is still not required. Language skills no longer need to be proven for the visa itself. The employer decides how much German is required and whether English is sufficient for the job, for example.

Settlement permit for skilled workers from abroad

Foreign skilled workers who have a residence permit in accordance with § 18a, § 18b, § 18d or § 18g AufenthG and have not completed a domestic vocational training programme or a course of study in Germany will receive a settlement permit in Germany after just three years (previously four years). In addition, holders of an EU Blue Card will receive a settlement permit even more quickly: after 27 months in employment with an EU Blue Card, they can be granted a settlement permit, and if they have sufficient knowledge of German (level B1 CEFR), it is even 21 months.

Easier family reunification for skilled workers

If spouses or underage children move to Germany to join certain skilled workers, proof of sufficient living space will not be required in future. In addition, such skilled workers can also bring their parents and – if the spouse is also permanently resident in Germany – parents-in-law to join them if they receive their residence permit for the first time on or after 1 March 2024.

Job search following training in the healthcare and nursing professions

Nursing assistants and care assistants from third countries who have completed their training in Germany will in future be able to apply for a residence permit to look for a job after completing their training. The residence permit is issued for up to twelve months and can be extended by up to six months. To do so, you must prove that you are able to support yourself.

Employment of trainees: Extended residence options for finding a training place

In short: the age limit for potential applicants has been raised from 25 to 35, and the requirements for German language skills have been lowered to level B1 (CEFR). The previous maximum duration of stay of six months will be increased to nine months. In addition, people with this residence permit will be able to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week as well as trial employment for up to two weeks.

However, when submitting the application, proof must still be provided that the person’s livelihood is secured for the duration of their stay (e.g. by means of a blocked account).