German immigration law
11 April 2002
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German Immigration Law, which has been widely discussed in the German media for several months, was approved by the Bundesrat (the Upper House of the German parliament) on 22 March, 2002. The new law has proved to be very controversial, and it is uncertain whether the Law in it’s current form will ever come into force. The Federal President can refuse to sign the new law as it currently stands, and if this should happen it will probably mean that the new law will be delayed until after Germany’s general election in autumn this year. The law could then be modified by whoever wins the elections.
The new German Immigration Law, if implemented in it’s current form would bring about a number of major changes:
- It would permit graduates of German Universities to remain in the country while looking for a job for up to one year after graduation.
- The introduction of a new immigration scheme for people near the top of their profession, who will be able to apply for permanent residency immediately. This new category would cover scientists or highly specialized scientific personnel, and certain highly skilled employees. Those who are “highly skilled employees” will need to have a job offer with a salary level of at least two times the level where they would pay the maximum contribution for health insurance as required under German law. At the current time applicants with annual salaries above 79,200 Euros would qualify as "highly skilled employees".
- There will be an annual quota introduced to allow entry of people on the basis of a "points-based immigration scheme". The quota would be set each year based on the needs of the German economy. Full details of the points system are yet to be determined, but it is expected that it will be similar to points-based immigration schemes of other countries such as in Australia and Canada. The evaluation criteria for the points system will probably cover qualifications, age, German language skills etc.
- There will be a compulsory course for new immigrants to give them an introduction to the German language, history and culture, and the German Constitution.
You will find extensive information on immigration to Germany in the following section of our website. If you or your employer would like help with entry to Germany please contact our German Visa Department.