On 1st March 2020, the Skilled Immigration Act came into force in Germany, making it easier for skilled professionals from outside the EU to move to Germany to work. This Act not only relaxes some of the rules in place for entering the country but also includes a fast-track immigration procedure for qualified professionals.
Qualified professionals are those persons who have completed at least two years of further education and obtained an academic or vocational qualification. In order to be eligible for fast-track immigration, this qualification must be officially recognized by the German authorities. A job offer or an employment contract is also a prerequisite, as is the relevant authorization from the qualified professional, allowing the employing company to apply to the immigration authorities. Fast-track immigration considerably reduces the time taken for administrative procedures when issuing a visa. The cost for this service is €411 in addition to the standard visa fee.
The relaxations to the rules in the new Skilled Immigration Act mean that it is possible for qualified professionals to work in jobs that are related to their qualification but do not specifically require a tertiary education degree. Those jobs that do not require any qualifications are however not permissible. In the past, it was also only possible for those with vocational qualifications to occupy positions in which there was a shortage of skills in Germany – this rule no longer applies and those persons with vocational qualifications can work in any position covered by their qualification as long as said vocational qualification is recognized by the German authorities.
It is not only the worker themselves who benefits from the fast-track immigration procedure, their spouse and children under the age of 18 are also included if their visa applications are carried out at the same time and they meet all the relevant requirements. If all the prerequisites for the procedure are met, the immigration authorities issue a preliminary approval and this must be used to complete the visa application process in the worker’s home country within three weeks. The decision regarding whether to grant the visa is then usually made within a further three weeks.
It is worth noting that the fast-track immigration procedure does not guarantee that a visa will be issued. Despite this, it is a positive development for skilled professionals moving to Germany from outside the EU and will save both individuals and companies time in the immigration process.
If you need support or you would like to know more about the fast-track Immigration procedure, contact us.