The German government has recently (on the 30th of November 2022) adopted the key points for changes to the German Residence Act, with the view of introducing the law for these changes in the beginning of 2023. The aim of the amendments will be to make the process of obtaining a visa for Germany and residence permit for Germany easier and more efficient.
Addressing the practical delays caused by the formal qualification recognition process
Of most interest is the proposal to create visa routes for persons based on a foreign qualification and professional experience, without the need for a formal recognition process of the foreign qualifications. This will benefit those who do not hold a Bachelor level qualification and who currently face a recognition process that can take around 3 – 4 months, with a variety of regional rules and processes that add complexity to the matter. The focus on experience and move away from the formal recognition of qualifications would move Germany in line with some other countries, such as the United Kingdom. In essence a higher degree of trust is placed on the employer, who, in having selected the candidate, has assessed the skills and professional experience.
A further alternative, to address the current practical barrier of recognition of qualifications below Bachelor level will be the possibility of having such qualifications recognised after arrival in Germany, with the result that the visa application process for Germany will be swifter and employees will be able to start working in Germany sooner. In a fast-moving race for talent, shifting time intensive processes after the ability to start work (based on relevant agreements between the employee and employer to follow through with the recognition process), can only be described as a clever move.
More opportunities for job seekers
Germany already has a job seeker visa option, and there are plans to expand this immigration option through a new “Chance Card”, which will be based on a points-based system and issued for up to 1 year (compared to the current job seeker visa), as well as possibly granting further rights of working on the side, whilst looking for employment. One of the factors of the points-based system is likely to be knowledge of the German language, which may be a good starting point for you, if this visa route sounds like a potential for you in future.
Further updates and improvements
Lastly, for immediate shortages, there are plans to introduce quotas for unskilled workers on a temporary basis.
All in all, these changes, accompanied by a strengthening and improvement of existing systems and procedures (such as allowing emailed documents and documents in English without the need of a translation) have been touted as becoming the most modern immigration law that Germany has ever had.
The changes that were announced, address some of the key practical issues that IBN has experienced in assisting our clients, in particular the long processing times for the requirement of qualification recognition before arrival in Germany.
IBN will be sure to keep a close eye on this new legislation, as it gets introduced and hopefully approved and we will keep you updated of the exciting new possibilities that Germany may hold for you in 2023. If you would like to explore your options for a visa to Germany under the current law, we look forward to hearing from you and our consultants will be happy to advise and assist you with the process of obtaining your visa and residence permit for Germany.
Written by Hannah Mminele