Virginia, US

Jul 01 2019

New Immigration Bill to Overhaul Skilled Migration and Increase Compliance


At a Glance

  • The German Federal Council has approved a bill expanding and streamlining skilled labor migration to Germany and has introduced additional compliance measures for employers.
  • Specifically, the bill opens the German labor market to mid-skilled foreign nationals and those with professional experience but no educational degrees; reforms and streamlines the visa application process; and increases compliance measures for employers.
  • The bill is expected to go into effect in March 2020.

The situation

The German Federal Council has approved a bill expanding and streamlining skilled migration to Germany while introducing additional compliance measures for employers.

Increased job market accessibility

The following new measures will increase access to the German job market for foreign nationals:

  • Improvements for vocationally-trained workers. 
    • There will be a new visa category for job searchers with vocational training that will be valid for up to six months.
    • The restriction to shortage occupations for vocationally-trained workers will be eliminated and no labor market test will be applied for these professionals.
  • Workers with extensive professional experience. Skilled migrants with extensive professional experience will be eligible for a visa in shortage occupations like information technology and engineering.
  • Impact. Lesser-educated foreign nationals will have greater access to the German labor market.


Streamlined processing

Foreign nationals will benefit from the following new measures which should streamline immigration application processing:

  • Government centralization. The 16 German States, which have three authorities involved in the visa approval process, will consolidate their authority into a Central Immigration Office for skilled migration application processing. These new office is expected to streamline the processing of initial visa applications and issuance of initial work permits.
  • Fast-track process. A new fast-track process, steered by the Central Immigration Office, will be introduced to quickly process applications from the Federal Employment Agency (FEA) and degree recognition authorities so the consolidated approvals can be sent internally to consulates and embassies, who would then schedule visa appointments within three weeks of their approval.
  • Impact. Foreign nationals are likely to see decreased processing times for most work visa applications.

Stricter compliance standards

  • FEA powers expanded. The FEA’s review options when assessing work permit applications will be expanded from reviewing not only a specific job position (as it is now), but to overseeing the employer’s overall compliance with tax and social security laws and employers’ solvency.
  • Notification requirement. Employers will have to notify immigration authorities when they are terminating a foreign national’s employment. Currently, there is no such requirement.
  • Impact. Employers will need to undergo an additional administrative step when they are terminating a foreign national and may need to submit additional documents in order to show their overall compliance with German laws. 



The history of this bill is depicted below: 









  • Other relaxed immigration policies. Germany has also recently relaxed document requirements for short-term and short-notice workers and eased A1 certificate of coverage requirements, effectively streamlining immigration processes to attract foreign nationals to the country.


Looking ahead

The new law will enter into force six months after its publication in the Federal Law Gazette, which is expected to occur in March 2020. Although Germany has already experienced a significant increase in the number of skilled non-EU foreign nationals applying for jobs, the new immigration bill will attract more mid-skilled foreign nationals to meet the country’s significant labor demands that cannot be met through EU or national workers.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].