Information on The Skilled Workers Immigration Act at a glance

What will change with the Skilled Workers Immigration Act?

The Skilled Workers Immigration Act makes it easier for skilled workers with professional, non-academic training to immigrate to Germany for work purposes. Existing regulations for skilled workers with a university degree will be continued and, in some cases, further simplified.

The Skilled Workers Immigration Act extends the framework for immigration qualified, skilled workers from countries outside the EU to Germany. Here you will find the main innovations:

Skilled workers:

Definition of skilled workers:

These persons are classified as skilled workers under the Skilled Workers Immigration Act:

People who have either completed qualified vocational training in Germany, for which a training period of at least two years is usually specified or people who have completed one abroad Professional qualification have acquired that is equivalent to domestic qualified vocational training. Shorter foreign vocational training courses can be comparable to qualified vocational training in Germany if the training does not show any significant differences or if these have been balanced.

People with a university degree are comparable to a university degree in Germany.

  • Entry into the labour market: Entry into the labour market is made more accessible: The qualified specialist must have an employment contract or a specific job offer and a qualification recognized in Germany. The so-called Priority check through the Federal agency for work (BA) is not applicable. This means that it is no longer necessary to check whether an applicant from Germany or the EU is available for the specific job. The examination of the working conditions by the BA continues.
  • Settlement permit for vocational training graduates in Germany: Under the new law, foreign graduates of vocational training in Germany, like university graduates, can receive a settlement permit after just two years.

Employment opportunities

A skilled worker can exercise an occupation for which the qualification acquired enables them. This means that employment in related professions is made possible. In addition, skilled workers with academic training can not only do jobs that require a university degree. You can also be employed in other qualified professions that are in the technical context of the qualification and for which a professional, non-academic training is generally required. Helper and semi-skilled occupations are excluded, it must be a qualified job in any case. For the blue card EU Employment appropriate to the professional qualification is always required, which usually requires an academic degree.

Skilled workers with vocational training

The employment of skilled workers with vocational, i.e. non-academic training, is no longer restricted to occupations with a shortage of jobs. With vocational training recognized in Germany, the residence permit To exercise qualified employment, these skilled workers also have access to all professions for which their qualifications enable them.

Entry to look for a job: Even skilled workers with qualified vocational training are allowed to enter the country to look for a job. You will get one residence permit for up to six months. The prerequisite is that the competent authority in Germany has recognized the foreign qualification, that the livelihood for the stay is secured and that you have the appropriate knowledge of German for the intended activity. As a rule, German language skills at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​are required. Trial employment of up to ten hours a week is possible during the job-search stay. This enables employers and foreign specialists to test whether they are a good match. The trial employment is also made possible for skilled workers with recognized academic training who, as before, are also allowed to travel to Germany for up to six months to look for work.

Settlement permit for
skilled workers from abroad:

After four years (previously five years), skilled foreign workers can receive the permanent residence permit in Germany.

Residence for qualification measures

The opportunities to stay for qualification measures in Germany are being expanded. The prerequisite for this is that a recognition procedure from abroad has been carried out at the competent authority in Germany, in which deficits in the foreign qualification acquired compared to the German training were found. Recognition notice. Further prerequisites for issuing a visa for the implementation of qualification measures are, among other things, knowledge of the German language corresponding to the qualification measure. As a rule, this is at least sufficient knowledge of German (corresponds to language level A2). For example, the 18-month residence permit can now be extended by six months to a maximum of two years for this purpose. After the maximum period of the residence permit has expired, a residence permit for training, study, or employment can be issued.

Apprentices and students

Extended change options for international students in Germany: International students already have the opportunity to change to other residence permits even before they have completed their studies. For example, instead of continuing your studies, you can start vocational training and receive a residence permit for professional training. The Skilled Workers Immigration Act expands these options: Under special conditions and after examination by the BA, a job offer as a skilled worker can already be accepted during a study visit or a stay for vocational training or further education. This is accompanied by the change to a residence permit to pursue a qualified job.

Entry to look for an apprenticeship place

It has already been possible for prospective students to enter the country to look for a place to study. According to the new regulation, those interested in training can also enter the country to look for a training position. The prerequisites are German language skills at level B2, a qualification from a German school abroad or a school qualification that entitles you to university entrance, a maximum age of 25 years and independent livelihood security.


Accelerated specialist procedure: employers can enter with a power of attorney for the specialist accelerated skilled worker procedure at the responsible foreigners Authority in Germany, which will significantly shorten the duration of the administrative procedure until the visa is issued. The following information and steps are important

An agreement must be concluded between the company and the immigration authority, which includes, among other things, the authorizations and obligations of the employer, the specialist and the authorities involved ( immigration authority, Federal Employment Agency, recognition bodies, diplomatic mission ) as well as a description of the processes including those involved and deadlines.

The immigration authority advises the employer, supports him in carrying out the procedure for the recognition of the foreign qualification of the skilled worker, obtains the approval of the Federal Employment Agency and examines the requirements for the granting of foreign nationals. The recognition bodies and the Federal Employment Agency have to make a decision within certain deadlines.

If all the requirements are met, the immigration office issues a so-called pre-approval, which it sends to the employer for forwarding to the specialist. They then book an appointment with the diplomatic mission to apply for a visa, which takes place within three weeks. At this appointment, the original of the pre-approval must be presented along with other documents required for the visa application.

After the full visa application has been submitted by the specialist, a decision will usually be made on it within a further three weeks.

The accelerated procedure for skilled workers also includes the spouse and unmarried underage children of the skilled worker if they meet the legal requirements for family reunification.

The fee for the accelerated specialist procedure at the immigration authorities is 411 euros. In addition, there is a visa fee of 75 euros as well as fees for the recognition of the qualification.

Find out everything you need to know about the procedure in the “Regulating immigration and employment” section: The accelerated specialist procedure

What do I have to do to be able to work as a specialist in Germany?

Recognition of foreign qualifications

Recognition of foreign qualifications: It is essential that you first have your foreign qualification recognized. Basic information on the recognition process and immigration to Germany can be found in the section “Recognition of foreign professional qualifications.”

Language skills

Language skills are required in particular for entering the country to look for a training position or to look for a job as a skilled worker with vocational training, but also for a stay for qualification measures. You can find more information on learning opportunities in the ” Learn German ” section.

Contact person for visa/residence: If you are still in your home country, the German diplomatic missions are responsible for issuing the necessary visa. The addresses of the German institutions in your area can be found on the world map. If you already live in Germany, you must contact the local immigration authorities to ask about residence and visas.

Further information on the current visa regulations can be found in our” Visa” section.

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