Boosting skilled immigration

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Skilled Labour Immigration Act Stage 2 Boosting skilled immigration

Stage 2 of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act came into force on 1 March 2024. The new rules make it easier for people from outside the EU to work in Germany in fields such as the care sector. Employers benefit from reduced bureaucracy and more streamlined procedures.

2 Min. Lesedauer

Scientists examining a cell culture in a laboratory.

Germany is welcoming skilled workers such as these scientists.

Foto: Getty Images/iStock/fotografixx

More people from countries outside the EU (known as “third countries”) are now able to work in Germany without needing to get formal recognition for vocational qualifications achieved abroad. To be eligible for this, they must have at least two years’ work experience and hold a vocational qualification or university degree which is recognised in their home country. The changes are designed to cut bureaucracy and streamline procedures. SMEs and the skilled crafts and trades will be big winners from the changes. The rules include minimum wages and wage commitments for employers in order to prevent wage dumping. 

Stage 2 of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act came into force on 1 March 2024. Its other provisions include:

  • Workers who still need to undergo the official recognition process for their foreign qualifications are no longer required to initiate this process before coming to Germany. This particularly applies in many healthcare and care jobs. To this end, workers and their employers must agree a “recognition partnership”.
  • The new rules make it easier for qualified care workers from non-EU countries to work in Germany. To be eligible for this, the worker must either have trained in Germany or hold a qualification which is recognised in Germany. Through these changes the Federal Government is creating new ways of reducing bottlenecks in the care sector.
  • Employers can hire foreign workers for up to eight months to provide short-term employment to meet specific needs. This covers sectors where the demand for workers is particularly high.

Welcoming skilled workers

The Federal Government adopted the Skilled Labour Immigration Act in 2023 as part of its new Skilled Labour Strategy. The German economy needs “every helping hand and smart mind,” said Federal Employment Minister Hubertus Heil when announcing that Stage 2 of the Act had come into force. In order for skilled workers from around the world to want to come to Germany and stay here, Heil said, there was a need for “openness and desire to welcome them into the workplace and society”.

Skilled immigration bolsters prosperity in Germany

The primary aim of the Federal Government’s Skilled Labour Strategy is to make full use of the potential available in Germany. In addition to this, the strategy also prioritises skilled immigration to bolster prosperity in Germany. Stage 1 of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act came into force in November 2023. Its primary focus was on relaxing rules around the EU Blue Card and attracting skilled workers with recognised qualifications. Stage 3, which includes the Chances Card for jobseekers, will follow on 1 June 2024.

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