The Immigration Act for Germany: First changes in force

The Immigration Act for Germany: First changes in force

The new Immigration Act makes it easier for skilled workers with vocational training and people with practical knowledge of their profession to immigrate to Germany.

The new law consists of several parts for different target groups, which will be introduced gradually. The first regulations came into force in November 2023. Further regulations and innovations will follow successively over the course of the coming year.

Blue Card (BlueCard)

This concerns skilled workers with a university degree. Existing regulations will be continued and in some cases expanded. It will also be possible to search for a job with a new opportunity card.

Lower salary thresholds
The salary thresholds for the EU Blue Card in regular and bottleneck occupations will be significantly lowered. In future, a minimum salary of 45.3% of the annual contribution assessment ceiling for pension insurance (in 2023: 39,682.80 euros) will apply for bottleneck occupations and new entrants, and 50% (in 2023: around 43,800 euros) for all other occupations.

Larger target group
In future, young professionals, i.e. people who have obtained a university degree within the last three years, will also be able to obtain an EU Blue Card. This applies to both shortage occupations and regular occupations and only if the required minimum salary (see above) is met.

New regulation for IT specialists
In future, IT specialists will no longer necessarily need a university degree to obtain a Blue Card, but will have to provide evidence of at least three years of comparable professional experience. The lower salary threshold for bottleneck professions will then apply (see above).

More bottleneck occupations
The list of bottleneck occupations for the EU Blue Card will be significantly expanded. In addition to the current bottleneck occupations (mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine), skilled workers in the following occupational groups will also be able to obtain an EU Blue Card in future if the other requirements are met:

  • Managers in production in the manufacture of goods, in mining and construction and in logistics
  • Managers in the provision of services in the field of information and communication technology
  • Managers in the provision of specialised services, such as childcare or healthcare
  • Veterinarians
  • Dentists and dental surgeons
  • Pharmacists
  • Academic and comparable nursing and midwifery professionals
  • Teachers and educators in the school and extracurricular sector

The lower salary threshold for bottleneck professions (45.3% of the annual income threshold; in 2023: €39,682.80) then applies to all of them.

Easier family reunification
For Blue Card holders who have already lived with their family in another EU member state, family reunification will be regulated on a privileged basis. In short: entry is possible without having to go through a visa procedure first. The usual requirements for housing and securing a livelihood will also no longer apply.

Entitlement for skilled workers and waiver of the link between qualification and employment

There will be significant changes for skilled workers with vocational training (Section 18a AufenthG) and skilled workers with academic qualifications (Section 18b AufenthG) from November 2023:

  • You now have an explicit right to be granted a residence permit if all requirements are met.
  • There is no longer a restriction that you may only work on the basis of the qualification obtained with the vocational qualification. This means that if you have a qualified vocational qualification or a university degree, you are not restricted to jobs related to this qualification when looking for a job. There are exceptions for regulated professions (e.g. nurses, doctors, physiotherapists).

Employment of professional drivers

For this target group, the Federal Employment Agency will no longer check whether the required EU or EEA driving licence and the basic qualification or accelerated basic qualification are available. In addition, the priority check has been cancelled and language skills are no longer required.

We will inform you about further changes step by step in the coming weeks.