Introduction to Immigration to Germany
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Starting in 2005, Germany is making a greater attempt to encourage highly skilled workers to move to Germany. While low skilled workers will still find it difficult to gain permission to work in Germany, highly skilled workers should find it easier to gain permanent residency. The professions most in need are natural scientists (biologists, chemists, physicists) engineers, professors and scientific personnel in high technology areas. Because of the great difficulty of obtaining work permission for unskilled workers, we only cover the procedure for skilled workers.
The new German Immigration Act, which came into force on 01 January 2005, provides for highly qualified persons to be granted permanent residence and permission to work from the outset, rather than five-year work permits as was previously the case. They must have a concrete job offer and get permission from the German Employment Agency. The new law also makes an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. Would-be immigrants will now report to one central place, most likely the German embassy in their home country, to receive work and residency permission.
Family members who enter Germany with highly skilled workers who have obtained a visa, or family members who join them later in Germany, can obtain the right to work in Germany as well, which should also make it easier for families to decide to move to Germany.
Another entirely new development in Germany will be regarded positively by foreign students. Foreign graduates of German universities will have a year to look for a job if they wish to stay in the country. Previously it was quite difficult for foreign students to remain in Germany upon completion of their studies.
Self-employed immigrants will also feel more welcomed under the new law, provided they invest one million euro and create ten new German jobs.
It should also be noted that Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement. With a Schengen Visa, you can entry one Schengen country and travel to other Schengen visa countries freely.
The new Immigration Act has replaced the former German Green Card Initiative, which made it easier for foreign IT specialists to work in Germany. It is generally agreed that the Green Card was unsuccessful, in that it did not succeed in bringing about the additional IT workers as was expected. This new provision of the Immigration Act is not limited to IT specialists.