Residence permit; application for the purpose of gainful employment (Skilled Workers Immigration Act)
The legal basis for the immigration of skilled workers is the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, which came into force on March 1, 2020. The Skilled Workers Immigration Act comprehensively reorganized the entire area of migration for the purpose of "training" and "gainful employment." The focus is on skilled workers.
As a rule, third-country nationals require a residence title to take up employment in Germany. Since March 1, 2020, every third-country national in possession of a residence title has been allowed to pursue gainful employment, unless prohibited by law.
The Skilled Workers Immigration Act is aimed in particular at skilled workers. Skilled workers are foreigners
- who have a German university degree, a recognized foreign university degree or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree (= skilled workers with academic training), or
- domestic qualified vocational training or an equivalent foreign vocational qualification (= skilled workers with vocational training).
The following applies to skilled workers: if an employment contract and a recognized qualification (university degree or qualified vocational training) are available, they can work in all occupations to which their qualification qualifies them, according to the new regulation.
Furthermore, since March 1, 2020, it has been possible under certain conditions to obtain a residence permit for skilled workers within the framework of potential immigration for the purpose of seeking a job as well as a training position. In this context, proof of the existence of a specific job before entering Germany to take up gainful employment is not required.
Residence permits for employment as a skilled worker require the approval of the Federal Employment Agency. The subject of this so-called labor market examination are the working conditions in comparison to domestic employees, the examination of an employment suitable for skilled workers as well as the existence of a domestic employment relationship.
Residence permits for skilled workers with training acquired abroad generally require the equivalence of the qualification. Since foreign qualifications and German requirements often do not correspond exactly, equivalence must be determined within the framework of a recognition procedure. If a full equivalence of the training acquired abroad could not be established prior to entry, it is possible under certain conditions to obtain a residence permit for post-qualification for the purpose of recognition of the qualification acquired abroad and to exercise a qualified occupation already during the qualification. Appropriate service centers are set up for specialists seeking recognition.
In exceptional cases defined precisely by law, the requirement for a formal, equivalent qualification is waived and immigration to take up employment is possible solely on the basis of pronounced practical professional knowledge.
Entry for employment as a skilled worker: Prerequisites for a residence permit for employment as a skilled worker are in particular that
- a concrete job offer for a qualified occupation to which the acquired qualification qualifies is available
- the Federal Employment Agency has agreed - without a priority check - whether the position can be filled by a German or a Union citizen
- a professional practice permit has been issued, insofar as this is required
- the equivalence of the qualification has been established or a recognized or comparable foreign university degree is available
- in the case of first-time issuance to persons 45 years of age or older, the amount of the salary corresponds to at least 55 percent of the annual contribution assessment ceiling in the general pension insurance scheme
Entry for training: A foreigner receives a residence permit for training and further education if
- the Federal Employment Agency has given its approval or the employment is permitted by regulation or intergovernmental agreement and a priority check has been carried out
- a training contract concluded prior to entry is available
- sufficient German language skills (B1 level) have been proven
- the livelihood is secured
Entry to search for a training place: A foreigner may enter Germany to search for a training place if
- he/she has not yet reached the age of 25,
- his livelihood is secured
- he/she has a degree from a German school abroad or a school-leaving qualification entitling him/her to enter higher education
- he has good German language skills (B2 level)
Entry for post-qualification and recognition of acquired qualification: A foreigner can be granted a residence permit for post-qualification for the purpose of recognition of his professional qualification under certain conditions. During the recognition procedure, the foreigner may already be employed in the desired occupational field. By exercising the employment, knowledge and skills can already be used and deepened in a professional environment, furthermore, the livelihood can be secured.
Immigration of non-skilled workers: A foreigner can obtain a residence permit to pursue employment regardless of qualification as a skilled worker if this is permitted by regulation or intergovernmental agreement. Under certain conditions, this also applies to foreigners working in the ICT industry.
Entry for job search: A foreign skilled worker may be granted a residence permit for up to six months to search for a job that their qualification qualifies them to perform.
Expedited Skilled Worker Procedure: Under the accelerated procedure, companies in Germany can obtain the necessary permits for the entry and residence of a skilled worker they need much more quickly than before for an increased fee (411 euros). In this procedure, the future German employer acts on behalf of the foreigner willing to enter the country. The basis for the accelerated procedure is an administrative agreement between the company and the responsible foreigners authority. Information on the accelerated procedure for skilled workers, in particular on the beneficiary group of persons, can be obtained from the foreigners authority where the company for which the employment is to take place has its registered office, as well as from the Central Office for the Immigration of Skilled Workers (ZSEF) in Nuremberg. The ZSEF is a service point that was created as a contact for employers specifically for the implementation of the accelerated skilled worker procedure. It provides advice throughout Bavaria by telephone, e-mail and video telephony. Employers are free to decide whether they want to carry out the accelerated skilled worker procedure at the ZSEF or at the locally responsible foreigners authority.
Reasons for refusal: A foreigner will not be granted a residence permit under the Skilled Worker Immigration Act if
- he/she is staying in a member state of the EU on the basis of an application for refugee status or for subsidiary protection,
- he/she enjoys international protection in a member state of the EU,
- he/she is staying in a Member State of the EU under a temporary protection regime,
- he/she has filed an application for temporary protection in a Member State of the EU,
- he is tolerated in a member state of the EU,
- he/she is in possession of a permit for permanent residence in the EU,
- he enjoys the right to free movement of persons.
Links to more information
Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Sport und Integration
- Online transactions, Bavaria-wide
- Online transactions, locally limited
- Prefillable Form, Bavaria-wide
- Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
- Legal bases, locally limited
- Fees, Bavaria-wide
- Fees, locally limited