Germany Immigration Reform Law Passed

On June 23, the German Parliament voted on the new law to reform the country’s immigration laws. This new immigration reform aims to make access to the German labor market easier for third-country nationals. The goal of the German government is to become more attractive to third-country nationals, facilitate the migration process, and expand the possibilities, especially in the field of work migration.

The new law of 2023 aims to focus on three pillars for work migration: Skilled labor, experience, and potential.

Before going into force, the law needs to be signed by the president, officially published, and procedural and administrative implementation must take place.

New regulations regarding the Blue Card EU

The skilled labor pillar remains the primary focus and central element of the new law. Some of the new measures specifically concentrate on democratizing the Blue Card EU and integrating more skilled workers with vocational training into the labor market. When the law goes into effect, the salary thresholds for both will be lowered.

  • The Blue Card in shortage occupations (“small” Blue Card) will see its annual gross salary threshold lowered from 45.552 € to 39.682,80 €.
  • The “big” Blue Card will go from 58,400 € to 49.581,60 €

The “small” Blue Card will also be extended to new groups of professionals.

  • A broader range of academic professionals, such as manufacturing and distribution managers, professional services managers, such as childcare professionals, teaching professionals, various health professionals (e.g., nurses, veterinarians, dentists, pharmacists, etc.).
  • All academics who have graduated within the last 3 years to facilitate their entry into the workforce.
  • Professionals and service managers in the information and communications technology field who do not hold an academic background if they can present other qualifications.
  • Those with protected status.

The Blue Card will also confer new rights to its holders, including:

  • Changing employers will now only require a declaration, and the Blue Card holder will not have to apply for a change before taking on a new job.
  • The applicant will only be bound to an employment for 12 months, and not 24, as it is currently.
  • Intra-European mobility will be made easier for European Blue Card holders.
Expanding employment opportunities for other skilled migrants

Under the new law, holding a recognized or equivalent university degree will be sufficient to obtain a residence permit for any qualified employment, even if it’s unrelated to the original degree. This new rule will also apply to those who have successfully completed vocational training, allowing them to take on employment in a different field as long as it is a qualified employment.

New regulations regarding student employment and the recognition of foreign qualifications

The new law aims to make studying in Germany more appealing, and educational migration will be strengthened.

  • Taking on secondary employment during studies will be made easier to ensure one’s livelihood.
  • Employment opportunities will be expanded for individuals on permits that previously did not allow it, such as those attending a language course.
  • The recognition of foreign qualifications will finally be made easier for those who wish to pursue their professional careers in Germany.
The “Chancenkarte” or the “Opportunity” Card

This new type of residence permit, based on a point system, will provide selected professionals with the opportunity to come to Germany to search for a job or have their foreign qualifications recognized. It will be introduced for professionals with a 2-year foreign vocational training or a university degree.

The selection criteria include language skills, work experience, age, and connection to Germany. Each criterion fulfilled will be allocated a certain number of points, for example (but not limited to):

  • 3 points for German proficiency at the B2 level.
  • 1 point for English proficiency at the C1 level.
  • 2 points for having at least 2 years of work experience in the last 5 years.
  • 2 points for being younger than 35 years old.

If an individual accumulates 6 points, they can apply for an “opportunity card” permit. Once in Germany, the opportunity card also offers the possibility of trial work or part-time employment, and the transition to residence permits for gainful employment or educational purposes is guaranteed.

Erickson Insights

The law should facilitate the immigration of a larger number of professionals to Germany and streamline the immigration process. Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.