BERLIN, GERMANY — Germany has substantially modified the ‘Skilled Immigration Act,’ aimed at attracting more skilled immigrant workers.
The Federal Council ratified these changes following their passage by the Parliament in June 2023 and initial approval by the Federal Cabinet.
The updated law will emulate the Canadian points-based system to create new opportunities and ease restrictions, transitioning Germany towards a more immigrant-friendly stance.
This marks a departure from Germany’s traditional hesitancy towards increasing regular migration.
The amended act offers three distinct avenues for entering Germany. IT specialists, in particular demand, can obtain the EU blue card, provided they have a recognized qualification.
The updated act lowers the salary threshold for these individuals, reduces the need for professional experience, and waives the necessity for German language proficiency.
Furthermore, the Act eases qualification requirements, enabling skilled workers with a professional qualification recognized in their home country and a minimum of two years’ work experience to enter Germany without needing their degree recognized beforehand. This effectively cuts down bureaucracy and expedites the process.
In addition, an ‘opportunity card’ has been introduced for potential contributors to the labor market who don’t yet have a specific job offer. This card can be extended up to two years if the holder secures an employment contract or a binding job offer for qualified employment in Germany, subject to approval from the Federal Employment Agency.
Reuters reports that, based on the government’s draft legislation, these modifications could bring an additional 60,000 workers annually from non-EU countries.
Moreover, the Western Balkans regulation will see an extension and a quota increase, allowing up to 50,000 nationals from six Western Balkan states to immigrate to Germany yearly without demonstrating their professional qualification.
Although these changes aim to bolster Germany’s economy by filling skilled worker gaps, experts caution that the law’s effectiveness hinges on its practical implementation and adequate administrative backing.