New German Skilled Labor Immigration law passed. Something is happening, but is it enough?

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On July 7, 2023, the Federal Council passed the Skilled Worker Immigration Act. The rules are to come into force gradually from November 2023. So something is happening when it comes to cutting red tape in the immigration of skilled workers to Germany. What are the key points of the law? Is it really suitable for attracting foreign skilled workers to Germany, including from third countries? And to keep them in the country as well? Here is an update on the legal situation and an assessment of the realistic prospects for companies and skilled workers as a result of the law.

According to the German government, around 1.98 million jobs unfilled in 2022 – time is running out

Germany is still far from attracting the 400,000 skilled workers per year that we need to maintain our competitiveness and prosperity. On the one hand, not enough specialists are coming into the country, and on the other, many leave after a while. According to the OECD, Germany ranks 15th in the global ranking of attractiveness for skilled workers, still behind countries such as Finland or Portugal (as of March 2023). The reasons why qualified immigrants do not feel comfortable in Germany are complex. The struggle with the bureaucracy and its hurdles, which are getting out of hand in many places in this country, plays an important role. Added to this are the lack of English language skills in the offices and the not infrequently low level of digitization of the authorities in this country. This, among other things, is where the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act comes in.

What is in the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act? (Source: Federal Government)

Foreign degrees will be recognized: From now on, at least two years of professional experience and a vocational qualification acquired abroad and recognized by the state there will suffice. The qualification no longer has to be recognized in Germany beforehand. This means less bureaucracy and shorter processes. However, the minimum salary threshold, which has now been lowered, must be reached.

Minimum salary threshold lowered: The minimum salary threshold for the EU Blue Card will be lowered to 50 percent of the annual contribution assessment ceiling in the general pension insurance scheme. As of January 1, 2023, the income threshold will be 7,100 euros per month in the new German states (2022: 6,750 euros) and 7,300 euros per month in the old German states (2022: 7,050 euros). This limit is therefore halved.

Relief for IT specialists: IT specialists are in particularly high demand in Germany (and not only here). They can already come without a recognized degree. In addition, the salary threshold and length of professional experience will be lowered. Also, IT specialists no longer need to prove German language skills.

Further improvements concern regulations for qualified asylum seekers, family reunification and the influx of applicants from certain Balkan states.

Why laws alone are not enough

This is good news. However, there are also things that need to improve that cannot simply be decided and enforced by immigration law. For example, the country’s relative backwardness in digitizing its bureaucracy and the local authorities’ English skills, which need improvement, remain. To name just a few factors that make it difficult for foreign professionals to feel welcome and ultimately comfortable in Germany. accompanies foreign IT professionals and companies of all sizes through the entire recruiting process – from matchmaking to dealing with the authorities and looking for accommodation, right through to the first day at the new workplace. For this purpose, we use a strategically built network and access to talent pools in South America, Asia and Africa. Our own customized digital platform for international recruiting simplifies the complex processes and ensures that the benefits and facilitations provided by the legislation can also be used effectively.

Image credits: AI tool Divi

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