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 under the new regulations.
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 before 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.