Employment based immigration has become more and more important in Germany. This is due a shortage of certain specialised professionals in a variety of fields. For several years now, immigration rules have become less restrictive with a view to encouraging suitable candidates to enter the German labour market. 18 of the German Residence Act (“Aufenthaltsgesetz”) provides the statutory basis for the granting of residence permits to non-German employees arriving in Germany.
Please find below a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding residence permits for non-German employees in Germany:
What are the legal requirements for a residence permit under § 18 of the German Residence Act?
- A concrete job offer or an employment contract
- Professional training that is equivalent to German professional training
- Desired profession that appears on the Shortage Occupation List
- Approval of the Federal Labour Agency (there are exceptions from this requirement)
What documents do I need?
- Application form (which can be downloaded from the website of the respective agency)
- Tabular summary of all apprenticeships and further training completed, as well as all paid labour pursued, in the German language
- A certified copy of a proof of identity (ID card or passport)
- Foreign training certificates (diplomas) with a certified copy of the official grade transcript in its original language, as well as a German translation, provided by a publicly appointed and certified translator
- Proof of intention to pursue paid labour (for example correspondence with potential employers) – this does not apply to citizens of EU/EEA countries /Switzerland or persons residing within Germany/EU/EEA/Switzerland already, if no special reasons militate against paid labour
- If possible, proof of work experience in the original language as well as a German translation, provided by a publicly appointed and certified translator
- If available, proof of other qualifications and further training, in the original language as well as a German translation provided by a publicly appointed and certified translator
- If available, proof of previous recognition procedures
- It is also helpful to have at hand additional documents relating to academic study, such as syllabi, subject overviews, course outlines, etc.
How do I proceed from holding a job offer to obtaining a residence permit?
1) Verification of equivalence of professional qualification
First of all, it must be determined whether the desired occupation is a regulated or non-regulated profession. It is only possible to enter a regulated profession if the respective qualifications are recognised. For non-regulated professions, it is possible to apply for a job directly and start working without a formal recognition procedure. The following link leads to a list of all regulated professions in Germany.
For regulated professions, the equivalence decision is part of the admission procedure (authorisation of professional practice, right to use a title). This also means that where equivalence is denied, the profession cannot be pursued in Germany. In the assessment procedure, the relevant foreign professional degree is compared to its German equivalent by means of defined formal standards, such as educational content and duration of the professional training. The procedure and competence of the implementing agency are regulated by law. The decision will be legally binding. If it is positive, applicants are free to apply to the German labour market.
2) Application procedure
We will submit your visa application to the responsible German diplomatic mission within 10 days after we have received all the necessary documents. After the documents have been sent and reviewed by the German consulate general, a D-visa will be issued within eight weeks after the application was submitted. The processing time varies but in our experience three months is a safe estimation. Sometimes the processing is faster and other times longer but on average it takes three months.
3) Arrival in Germany
As soon as the D-Visa has been obtained, the applicant has the right to enter Germany. The following further steps will be taken by our office:
a) Contacting the local immigration authority / submission of application for a residence permit (the client’s personal appearance is required)
- Submission of the completed application form (support through our office)
- 3 biometric passport photos
- The client will present their social insurance card to the authorities
- Proof of health insurance (support through our office)
- Statement of the employer (support through our office)
- Proof of housing (lease or sale contract)
b) Contacting the registration office / local city office (registration certificate) by providing the following documents:
- ID Card, passport
- Certificate of accommodation provided by a landlord (support through our office)
4) Issue of residence permit
After the application has been submitted to the immigration office, the residence permit will usually be issued within 1-2 weeks. After the application process has been completed an electronic residence card will be filed within 4 weeks. However, you will have the right to reside in Germany and start working immediately after the application has been submitted.
What do our legal services include?
Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte (attorneys at law) is a team of highly skilled lawyers specialising in employment-based immigration law, who offer an extensive package of legal services. Our services include, among other things:
- Application for an equivalence assessment of your professional degree
- Visa application to the German embassy – (we will complete the forms and documents together with you)
- Employment contracts – (Our specialised labour law department will assist you with the employment contract and can advise you on all matters relating to labour law)
- Application for a residence permit – (we will make an application for a residence permit to the responsible immigration authorities right after you have obtained your visa)
- Application for a settlement permit – (after you have been working for three years, we will apply for a settlement permit on your request)
- Family reunion – (after you have obtained your residence permit we will help your family with joining you in Germany)
- Visa & relocation service for companies – (Frequently, international corporations use our services in order to transfer employees from abroad to a German subsidiary or branch)
How much do our legal services cost?
The fees we charge for our immigration services largely depend on the project itself and the services demanded by our clients. After we have received your request for assistance; we will make a noncommittal, transparent offer for our all-inclusive services.