Germany | Government Announces Expansive Immigration Changes

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz introduced his government’s plans to extend citizenship rights, ease the asylum process, and expand immigration benefits.

  • Immigration Benefit Processing:
    • The government would allow documents to be submitted in other languages instead of requiring a certified translation.
    • Immigrants with certain professions would only have to show at least two years of work experience and a degree recognized in the country of origin.
    • The government will discontinue the proof of language skills currently required for family members of skilled workers from non-EU countries.
    • The government would extend the benefits of the Blue Card to people in academia and vocational jobs, lowering the minimum salary requirements. In the future, lower minimum salaries will also apply to those starting their careers.
    • The government would eliminate the “priority check” for apprenticeships, allowing students from non-EU countries to study and work.
    • The government would continue indefinitely the Western Balkans regulation, which allows nationals from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to work in Germany if they have a job offer from a German employer without a priority check. In addition, the government would like to increase the quota (above the current 25,000 cap) and extend it to other countries.
  • Expanded Residency Access:
    • The government proposes offering individuals who have had “tolerated” status for at least five years as of October 1, 2022, a one-year “opportunity residency” — a year they can use to meet the permanent residency criteria. The residency status removes the threat of deportation, improving the individual’s employability.
  • Citizenship:
    • Germany’s citizenship law would be reformed to allow dual citizenship with countries outside of the EU and Switzerland and to allow foreign nationals to apply for citizenship after five years instead of eight years.

Additional proposed changes include granting all asylum-seekers access to German integration and vocational language courses and managing deportation enforcement more consistently.

Erickson Insights

The expanded proposal from the Scholz government also includes a new “opportunity” card, with a points-based qualification, that would allow individuals to enter Germany in search of a job or training opportunity. Additionally, a second law is expected focused on skilled worker immigration.

The proposed immigration changes have been met by opposition from within and outside Chancellor Scholz’s party. Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.