- Moving to Germany As a Skilled Worker From the UK
- The New Skilled Immigration Act at a Glance
- The New EU Blue Card From November 2023
- New Employment and Recognition Rules From March 2024
- Am I Eligible to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa in Germany?
- Documents Required for Germany Skilled Worker Visa
- How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Germany?
- Processing Time for Skilled Worker Visa
- Germany Skilled Worker Visa Application Fees
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Moving to Germany As a Skilled Worker From the UK
The term ‘skilled worker’ in Germany refers to a professional with a university degree or vocational training recognised in the country. Citizens outside EEA/Switzerland will have to obtain the relevant visa and/or the residence permit to live and work in Germany as skilled workers, depending on their nationality.
If you are a UK citizen wishing to move to Germany as a skilled worker, you will not need a visa to travel to the country. Within 90 days of your arrival in Germany, you must apply for a temporary residence permit for skilled employment purposes.
However, please note that you can only start working in Germany once you have been issued a residence permit allowing you to do so. If you need to start working as soon as you are in Germany, you may choose to apply for a long stay work visa prior to travelling, which will permit working in the country from the first day of its validity.
Foreign nationals from visa-required countries must apply for a long stay work visa from their country of residence to travel to Germany, and then a temporary residence permit for skilled employment purposes within 90 days of their arrival.
If you are a visa-required foreign national who is currently a UK resident and wishing to move to Germany as a skilled worker, you must apply for a long stay work visa to travel to Germany from the UK.
The New Skilled Immigration Act at a Glance
With a vision to make the country a favoured destination for qualified overseas workers and to address a shortage of skilled labour in the domestic market, Germany launched the new Skilled Immigration Act on 18 August 2023. The goal is to make it easier for skilled workers outside the EEA or Switzerland to come to Germany to work.
The act has, to begin with, done with the previous requirement that a skilled overseas worker with a university degree/vocational training qualification can take up only those jobs in Germany for which their degree/training qualifies them.
Now, a skilled worker with a university degree/vocational qualification can perform any type of skilled labour in the country (except for the regulated professions), thus widening the scope of their employment.
Secondly, under the new act, a skilled overseas worker can now come and work in Germany even if they do not have a formally accepted equivalent to German vocational training. They will need to have relevant work experience instead of at least two years and meet the specified minimum salary threshold in Germany.
Finally, the new act has introduced the concept of ‘potential’ skilled workers. Qualified overseas workers, who show ‘potential’ to obtain employment in Germany given their specific skills and who are looking for jobs or opportunities to get their foreign vocational qualifications recognised as equivalent, will now get a temporary resident permit even if they do not have a job offer.
The act itself will enter into force on 1 March 2024. However, its provisions have started to be phased in from 18 November 2023.
We have discussed in the following sections the specific changes that will be applicable from November 2023 and March 2024, respectively. You may also refer to the German government site for further information.
Western Balkan Regulations
In addition, the new act is also set to extend the Western Balkans Regulation indefinitely, which allows citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia to work in the non-regulated professions in Germany.
The Federal Employment Agency (BA) has doubled the quota to 50,000 approvals per year, applicable from June 2024 onwards.
The New EU Blue Card From November 2023
An EU Blue Card is a residence permit that allows qualified non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals to live and work in the EU country issuing the card. Under the new Skilled Immigration Act, Germany has revised the immigration requirements for issuing an EU Blue Card in the country, which has been effective since 18 November 2023.
The main features of the new EU Blue Card in Germany are as follows:
- For regular jobs, the minimum salary threshold requirement for an EU Blue Card has been lowered to €43,800 in 2023, while that of entry-level jobs and ‘bottleneck professions’ (i.e. where there is a shortage of skilled workers) has come down to €39,682.80
- An EU Blue Card in Germany is now available to a wider group of people, such as foreign nationals who graduated from university within the last three years, IT specialists with at least three years of relevant professional experience even if they do not have a university degree, and people engaged in occupations featuring on the extended list of bottleneck professions
- Short-term and long-term mobility options in Germany for holders of EU Blue Cards issued by another EU Member State
- Privileged family reunification for EU Blue Card holders who have already lived in another EU Member State with their family members
New Employment and Recognition Rules From March 2024
From March 2024 onwards, the below provisions of the new Skilled Immigration Act in Germany will come into force:
- Skilled workers, who need to undergo training to obtain a qualification in Germany to match their equivalent foreign training, will now be issued with a 24-month valid residence permit (compared to 18 months previously), with a possibility to extend it for a further 12 months. They will also be able to work for 20 hours per week, increased from the previous limit of 10 hours
- Skilled workers with foreign training/degree will now be able to obtain resident permits for qualified employment, and can complete the necessary recognition procedure of their degree/qualification after entering Germany
- Skilled workers who have received a notice of partial recognition and who mainly lack practical business experience can now come to Germany either to complete a qualification measure (as earlier) or within the framework of a recognition partnership
- Skilled workers who must undergo a skills analysis in Germany to determine the equivalence of their foreign qualifications, may now be granted a residence permit for a maximum of six months for this purpose
- Foreign nationals will be able to work in Germany in IT specialist roles with two years of experience in the relevant fields, even without a professional qualification/university degree or German language skills
- Nursing assistants with less than three years of training will be able to work in the healthcare sector in Germany, if they have received relevant vocational training in the country or a recognised foreign equivalent
- Third-country national nursing and care assistants who have completed their training in Germany will be able to apply for a jobseeker’s residence permit
- Skilled workers will receive permanent residency status in Germany after only three years (in two years if they have a university degree or vocational training in the country)
- EU Blue Card holders will be able to obtain permanent residency in Germany in 27 months (or in 21 months if they have German language skills at B1 level or above)
- Requirement for sufficient living space will no longer apply for skilled workers to have their eligible family members join them in Germany
- Skilled workers may obtain a residence permit for up to 18 months for the purpose of setting up a business in Germany, provided they have obtained a grant from a German research organisation or public body for the same
- Secondary employment opportunities for foreign national students and trainees will be increased to 140 full days or 280 half days
- Prospective foreign national students seeking a place at a German university will now be able to take up a part-time job of up to 20 hours a week
- Age limit has been increased to 35 years from 25 previously for foreign nationals coming to Germany seeking vocational training. The German language skills for them has also been lowered to level B1
- Short-term employment possibilities will increase for third-country nationals, regardless of their qualifications
Am I Eligible to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa in Germany?
You will have to meet the following requirements to apply for a skilled worker visa in Germany:
- A university degree or qualification recognised in Germany or comparable to a German equivalent (not required for IT specialists with at least two years of experience in the relevant fields)
- A licence to practise for certain regulated professions, e.g. doctors
- A valid job offer for a qualified position from a German employer, meeting minimum salary threshold and other social security guidelines
- If you are over 45, your gross annual salary in Germany must be €48,180 or above (as of 2023). If not, then you must be able to show proofs of an adequate pension provision
Documents Required for Germany Skilled Worker Visa
The supporting documents you will have to submit to apply for a German skilled worker visa from the UK may include:
- Printout of the online application form including barcodes
- Passport issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months, with at least one blank double page spread
- Copy of the passport biometrics page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/visa and photocopies
- Two passport photos
- A declaration from your German employer
- Pre-approval confirmation from the Federal Employment Agency (BA, where applicable
- If an academic degree is required, then:
- Original degree certificate and photocopies
- Proof that both the qualification as well as the academic institution are listed as comparable in Germany, or the ‘Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications’ issued by the Central Office for Foreign Education
- If a vocational qualification is required, then:
- Original qualification certificate and photocopies
- Recognition notice regarding the qualification and photocopies
- Health insurance
- Academic or professional curriculum vitae
Please keep in mind that you may be asked for further documentary evidence depending on your circumstances.
How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Germany?
To apply for a skilled worker visa in the UK, you will have to get in touch with the external service provider TLScontact, who have been commissioned by German immigration authorities to take care of parts of visa application formalities.
You will need to:
- Fill in the relevant online application form with required information, and then take a printout of the same including the barcode page (i.e. page 7)
- Sign the form on pages 5 and 6
- Book an appointment at the TLScontact visa application centre in London or Manchester (serving the German Embassy in London) or Edinburgh (serving the German Consulate General in Edinburgh), depending on your location in the UK
- Submit your application along with supporting documents at the visa application centre on the day of your appointment, and pay the applicable visa processing fees
Processing Time for Skilled Worker Visa
A long stay work visa usually takes up to two weeks for processing, although some categories of employment visas may take up to six months for processing, e.g. work visa for self-employed professionals.
It is of utmost importance to submit all relevant supporting documents during your appointment at the visa application centre. If you are asked to submit more documentary evidence, the processing time may increase.
Germany Skilled Worker Visa Application Fees
You will have to pay a visa processing fee of €75 per adult applicant and €37.50 for every child applicant up to 18 years of age, for long stay visas in Germany.
This fee is not refundable. If you withdraw your visa application or your application gets rejected, you will not get a refund of this fee.
TLScontact may charge additional service fees. Please refer to their website for more details on this.
Germany has a requirement for skilled workers from abroad. The new Skilled Immigration Act has been brought into effect to facilitate the immigration procedures for skilled foreign nationals coming to Germany to take up qualified employment.
However, being the fourth largest economy of the world and the largest in Europe, Germany attracts a substantial number of economic migrants, some of whom may try to enter the country by illegal means, e.g. submitting forged documents etc.
To counter this, work visas in Germany, including the Skilled Worker visa, are subject to stringent checks by German consular authorities to rule out immigration abuse. German authorities will also thoroughly check your immigration history, particularly if you have been in Germany previously on a different category of visa/permit.
So, even if you meet all eligibility requirements, you must pay due diligence while filling up the relevant form(s) as well as arranging for supporting documentation, for your Skilled Worker visa application to be successful.
Total Law can help. Our team of immigration advisers have the required expertise and empathy to understand your case and assist you, regardless of the complexities involved in your situation.
To know more about the bespoke services we provide and how we can help you, please call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 today to speak to our team of immigration experts.
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Skilled workers are currently in high demand in Germany in the following sectors:
- Engineering and construction
- Science and technology
- Skilled crafts
- Environmental and climate protection
Yes. Foreign nationals holding residence permits as skilled workers in Germany can bring their spouses/civil partners, minor children and dependent parents to the country. The new Skilled Immigration Act has provisions to facilitate family reunification for skilled workers.