Skilled Immigration Act: Stage 2 with simplifications for experienced workers

The second stage of the new “Skilled Immigration Act” enters into effect on 1st March. In the future, experienced foreign skilled workers will be able to take up employment more easily.

20 Feb 2024 | Press release no.7

“The new rules will make Germany more attractive to foreign skilled workers. Work can now be taken up in Germany in many different occupations, and the recognition of qualifications here in Germany can also be initiated. The recognition of qualifications continues to be a complex, time-consuming and lengthy process for many foreigners, though. Faster and simpler processes for the recognition of qualifications are also important,” explained Vanessa Ahuja, Head of International Business at the BA.

Extension of the regulations for experienced workers

The new regulation now applies to all non-regulated occupations in all industries. In the future, people with a high level of practical professional expertise will also be able to hold a qualified role in Germany if they have a recognised vocational or university qualification which they obtained abroad and at least two years of work experience. This also applies to non-regulated occupations where these aren’t yet recognised in Germany. For vocational qualifications, a training period of at least two years is required. The annual salary must also be at least 40,770 euros (2024) according to the current contribution assessment ceiling, provided that the employer is not bound by collective wage agreements.

Recognition Partnership enables the process for the recognition of qualifications to start after arrival in Germany

The Recognition Partnership gives foreign workers a further opportunity to complete the entire process for the recognition of their qualifications in Germany. Accordingly, the employer and the prospective skilled worker agree to apply for and to actively pursue the recognition of the qualifications after the worker has arrived in Germany. The basic requirements for the Recognition Partnership are an employment contract and a vocational qualification that entailed at least two years of training and which is recognised in the country of training, or a university degree. In addition, German language skills to A2 level (CEFR) are required.

First stage entered into effect in November 2023

The salary thresholds for the “Blue Card” were lowered in November 2023 and the possibility to change industry was also provided for certain occupations.