Why are foreigners more religious than Americans

Aliens Law II - Employment


In addition to the general residence law regulations of the Residence Act (AufenthG), the Social Security Code (SGB) III (Employment Promotion) and various implementing regulations must also be observed for the employment of foreign non-EU workers. On March 1st, 2020, numerous changes came into force within the framework of the Skilled Workers Immigration Act. All measures are aimed at counteracting the shortage of skilled workers caused by the increased immigration of such people from third countries. In order to make the administrative procedures more efficient, certain prerequisites were deleted on the one hand and an "accelerated skilled workers procedure" was introduced on the other. In addition, the term “skilled worker” is now legally defined in the Residence Act and includes university graduates and employees with qualified professional training. The biggest change in the employment rules affects foreigners who already have a residence permit: They are now allowed to work, unless a law provides for a prohibition. Up to now, third-country nationals have not been allowed to take up employment unless they have been given a corresponding permit based on a law or ordinance.

The following also applies to the issue of a residence title for the purpose of employment: In principle, the immigration authority can only issue the residence title after the Federal Employment Agency has given its approval, provided the other requirements are met. Special rules apply to Union citizens.

Employment of Union Citizens

Employees from EU member states are generally treated the same as German nationals and therefore do not require a special work permit. “Free movement of workers” applies to them.

Employment of non-EU citizens (hereinafter: foreigners)


A distinction must be made between the employment of foreigners who already have a residence permit and the employment of skilled workers who do not yet have a residence permit. After the Skilled Workers Immigration Act has come into force, foreigners who have a residence permit may work, unless a law provides for a prohibition. The following applies to other foreign skilled workers who come to Germany to take up employment and do not yet have a residence permit: The locally competent lower foreigners authority grants a foreigner a residence permit to pursue employment if the other requirements are met, if the Federal Employment Agency pursuant to Section 39 Of the Residence Act. The latter does not apply if a statutory exception stipulates that employment may be carried out without the consent of the Federal Employment Agency. The work permit is included in the residence permit. Accordingly, foreigners are only allowed to work if the residence permit allows it. Employers may only employ them if they have such a residence permit. Any restrictions can only be found in the residence permit. Residence permits are, for example, the temporary residence permit and the permanent settlement permit. Holders of a settlement permit can - regardless of their nationality - reside anywhere in Germany, settle freely and enter into an employment relationship without restrictions. The conditions under which foreigners are to be granted an employment permit are essentially based on the Residence Act and the Employment Ordinance (BeschV). With the Skilled Worker Immigration Act, the ability to consent to the employment of a skilled worker (with academic or vocational training) was recently considerably simplified in order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. Citizens of Andorra, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the United States of America can give consent with priority check to pursue any employment regardless of where the employer is based. For citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, consents with priority testing can be granted up to and including 2020 to exercise any kind of employment. Approval can be given for employment within the framework of the existing contract work agreements with the states of Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. This also applies to the managerial or administrative staff with company-specific knowledge required to carry out the contract work for a period of up to four years.

Employment permit for skilled workers

From an employment perspective, foreigners who integrate into society and the labor market are particularly welcome. In order to give them long-term and secure prospects in Germany, the employment law for foreigners privileges the immigration of skilled workers. As a result of the Skilled Workers Immigration Act, further simplifications came into force on March 1, 2020. The background to this is the large personnel requirements of the companies, which can no longer find suitable applicants to fill their positions.

A skilled worker within the meaning of the Skilled Workers Immigration Act is a foreigner who has a domestic qualified professional training or a foreign professional qualification equivalent to a domestic qualified professional training (so-called skilled worker with professional training) or a German, a recognized foreign or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree ( so-called specialist with academic training).

The general requirements for the immigration of skilled workers are regulated by Section 18 of the Residence Act. In principle, a skilled worker can receive a residence permit to work if he has a specific job offer. As far as legal regulations stipulate this, the approval of the Federal Employment Agency and the professional license must already have been granted or promised. Furthermore, the equivalence of the qualification or a recognized foreign or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree must be available. Apart from justified exceptional cases, the foreigner who has reached the age of 45 must also show a certain level of salary when applying for the residence permit for the first time or provide evidence of adequate retirement benefits.

If the issuance of the residence title for the purpose of employment depends on the aforementioned consent, the Federal Employment Agency's priority check is no longer applicable with the introduction of the Skilled Workers Immigration Act in accordance with Section 39 (2) sentence 2 of the Residence Act. This means that it is no longer necessary to determine whether a domestic or European applicant is available before hiring a skilled worker from a third country. The employment agency's approval for employment can be given if the skilled worker

  • is not employed under less favorable working conditions than comparable domestic workers,
  • will take up an activity for which their qualifications enable them,
  • a domestic employment relationship will exist and
  • possibly fulfills the additional requirements according to the employment ordinance.

Residence permits for skilled workers with vocational training and academic training are generally issued for a period of four years. If the employment relationship or the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is limited to a shorter period, residence permits will be issued for this shorter period. If an employment for which a residence permit has been issued is terminated prematurely, the employer must notify the responsible immigration authority of this within four weeks in accordance with Section 4a, Paragraph 5, Sentence 3, No. 3 of the Residence Act.

The accelerated skilled worker procedure according to Section 81a of the Residence Act has been added. Domestic employers can apply for this to be initiated if they have received the relevant power of attorney from the specialist concerned. In the case of implementation, the employer and the responsible immigration authority conclude a corresponding agreement.

blue card EU

The “EU Blue Card” (Section 18 b, Paragraph 2 of the Residence Act) is issued to skilled workers with academic training for up to four years. If the duration of the employment contract is less than four years, the EU Blue Card will be issued for its duration plus a further three months. In the latter case, an extension of the residence permit is also possible. The subject of the employment contract must be an activity that is appropriate to the qualification.

The applicant for an EU Blue Card must be able to show the following:

  • German, recognized foreign or German comparable foreign university degree and
  • Basically a salary of at least two thirds of the annual ceiling in the general pension insurance

For scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors and IT specialists, a salary of at least 52 percent of the annual contribution ceiling is sufficient if the Federal Employment Agency gives its approval. The Federal Ministry of the Interior publishes the minimum salaries for each calendar year in the Federal Gazette by December 31 of the previous year.

If the holder of an EU Blue Card changes employer within the first two years of employment, he or she needs permission from the responsible immigration authority. The only requirement is that the general requirements for the issue of an EU Blue Card are still met.

Depending on their knowledge of German, holders of the EU Blue Card can receive a permanent residence permit after 21 or 33 months of employment. In addition to the fulfillment of certain general requirements, it must also be possible to provide evidence of coverage in the event of retirement.

Family members of holders of an EU Blue Card can take up employment without restriction.

Other groups that have unrestricted access to the labor market

Finally, without the consent of the Federal Employment Agency, a residence permit can in particular be issued to:

  • Visiting scholars and academic university staff,
  • Engineers and technicians in the research team of a visiting scientist
  • Teachers at state schools or for language teaching at universities
  • Graduates from German schools abroad with a recognized or comparable foreign university degree or such training

Other groups with the approval of the Federal Employment Agency

For other groups of skilled workers, the BeschV stipulates that the Federal Employment Agency can approve the issuing of a residence permit, in particular for:

  • Managers and specialists (Section 3 Employment Ordinance),

Qualified employment in professions in the field of information and communication technology regardless of a qualification as a specialist

Temporary employment permit

Foreigners who do not have a residence permit for the purpose of employment can be granted a temporary employment permit in order to take up employment in the Federal Republic of Germany.

This is easily possible without the consent of the Federal Agency for:

  • Volunteer service participants in the European Union,
  • Foreigners who are employed in the Federal Republic for charitable or religious reasons,
  • Foreign students and pupils from universities and technical colleges for a period of up to 90 days within 12 months if the Federal Employment Agency has arranged the employment,
  • as well as for internships for further training purposes
    • This includes study-related internships in the EU, internships during domestic studies, financed internships from EU programs and internships with scholarship holders
    • As well as internships with a duration of up to one year as part of an international exchange program by associations, public institutions or student organizations with students or graduates of foreign universities in agreement with the Federal Employment Agency.

The Virtual Welcome Center of the Central Foreign and Specialized Mediation (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency will advise you by phone, email or chat on all questions about working and living in Germany.

Phone: +49 228 713-1313
Mail: [email protected]

In addition, approval from the Federal Employment Agency is required and can in particular be given:

  • up to three years to qualified foreigners who want to work in the Federal Republic of Germany as part of an international personnel exchange or to carry out a foreign project for which they have specialist knowledge,
  • up to five years to language teachers for the purpose of mother tongue teaching
  • up to four years to specialty chefs under priority examination,
  • to foreigners under the age of 27 with a basic knowledge of the German language for the purpose of au pair employment for up to one year
  • to domestic workers of posted workers for a maximum of 5 years
  • Seasonal workers up to 6 months per calendar year
  • Showman assistants up to nine months in a calendar year
  • Domestic help up to three years

Posted workers

Foreigners who work for a company based abroad and are temporarily posted to the Federal Republic of Germany by their employer can also be granted a residence permit to carry out such temporary activities without the consent of the Federal Employment Agency. This applies in particular to business travelers for 90 days within a period of 180 days. Also for foreigners who are temporarily employed in another group company for further training purposes, as well as journalists for 90 days in a period of twelve months. Fitters in connection with work delivery contracts can also be granted a residence permit without consent, whereby the employment must be reported to the Federal Employment Agency beforehand, depending on the circumstances.

On the basis of intergovernmental agreements between the Federal Republic of Germany and a number of countries (Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia), employees from these countries can within the framework of fixed quotas for the execution of work contracts between their employer and a German company for a period of up to four Years in Germany. The Stuttgart Employment Agency (Nordbahnhofstrasse 30-34, 70191 Stuttgart, Tel: 0711 920-0) is responsible nationwide for the implementation of the work contract procedure.

According to this, guest workers can also be granted an employment permit for a period of up to 18 months, provided that there is a corresponding intergovernmental agreement with the foreigner's home country.

Employment of refugees

a) Recognized refugees who have received a residence permit for reasons of international law, humanitarian or political reasons may accept any employment. A separate permit from the immigration authorities is not required.

b) For asylum seekers with a residence permit (refugees whose asylum procedure has not yet been completed) and persons with a tolerance (refugees whose asylum application has been rejected but who cannot be deported), the following applies:

  • Employment is only permitted with the permission of the immigration authorities. The permit can be issued after a three-month stay in Germany at the earliest and usually only with the consent of the Federal Employment Agency. Easier requirements apply to people who meet the requirements for an EU Blue Card.
  • In-company vocational training in a state-recognized or similarly regulated occupation or an internship is only possible with the permission of the immigration authorities.

The Federal Employment Agency provides further details for employers on the employment of refugees in the brochures "Labor market access for asylum seekers and refugees" and "" Internships "and operational activities for asylum seekers and tolerated" persons (www.arbeitsagentur.de - Companies - Workers)

 Jurisdiction and Procedure

The application must be submitted to the relevant German diplomatic mission in the applicant's home country prior to entry. It is forwarded via the Foreign Office to the immigration authority responsible for the intended place of residence with a request for consent.Regardless of the result of the examination by the respective immigration authority, the diplomatic mission makes the sole decision on issuing the entry visa.

As of March 1st, 2020, an "accelerated skilled worker procedure" was introduced for skilled workers and other qualified employees who want to enter the country for one of the following purposes:

  • Vocational training and professional development
  • Measures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications
  • Skilled workers with vocational training
  • Skilled workers with academic training
  • highly qualified specialists with academic training

In addition to paying an increased fee, this requires the conclusion of an agreement between the immigration authorities and the employer authorizing the foreigner making the application. The decision on the visa application is then usually made within three weeks of submitting the complete visa application.

If the foreigner is already staying legally or as a refugee in the Federal Republic of Germany, the application must be submitted directly to the local immigration authority. The local jurisdiction is determined by the actual or intended stay of the foreigner. All extensions and changes to residence permits (e.g. for the purpose of taking up employment) must be applied for at the local immigration office. The participation of the Federal Employment Agency in gainful employment requiring approval takes place in an administrative approval procedure. This means that only the immigration authorities in Germany and the diplomatic missions abroad (visa offices of the embassies and consulates) appear in relation to foreigners.

In addition, the federal states are to set up central immigration authorities, which represent the immigration authorities responsible for visa applications in the context of training and labor migration.

In the event of violations, sanctions are imminent

Before starting work, foreign workers must have a residence permit that allows them to take up employment. Employers may only employ foreigners who are in possession of such a residence permit. Violations can result in fines as well as imprisonment and, for foreigners, possibly even expulsion from the Federal Republic of Germany.

Further information is available on the Internet at www.integrationsbeauftragte.de (the publisher is the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration), www.bamf.de and www.arbeitsagentur.de.