Electronic approval for admission to the labour market: advance approvals from the BA now available digitally

The Federal Employment Agency (BA) has digitised key steps in the approval process for admission to the labour market. This benefits both employers and foreign employees and skilled workers. The digital exchange of data between the public authorities involved should help to reduce bureaucracy.

24 May 2024 | Press release no.22

The approval for admission to the labour market is part of the visa process that people from third countries have to go through if they want to work in Germany. The BA decides on their admission to the labour market. For this purpose, the BA is included in the standard procedure by the visa offices or the foreign residents’ registration office. In certain cases, however, the BA is able to check in advance – i.e. before a person applies for a visa – whether the requirements for employment in Germany are met. This check is requested by the future employer. If all the requirements are met, the BA issues what is known as an “advance approval”.

Previously, employers sent the advance approval to the person they wanted to hire in the post. Not only do these documents sometimes go missing in the post during their journey to the foreign worker’s country of origin, even when successful, the delivery sometimes takes several weeks.

The amount of approvals for admission to the labour market has also increased in recent years. More approvals have been issued to people arriving as refugees or seeking asylum, for example. Other pathways to access to the labour market, such as taking up vocational training in Germany or the regulations relating to the Western Balkans, have also increased the number of approvals and therefore the administrative workload for the BA. To meet these challenges, an authority-spanning push towards digitalisation is required.

The new eService for the electronic approval for admission to the labour market is a promising step on the way to such digitalisation.

Vanessa Ahuja, Director of Services and International Affairs at the BA: “With our approvals for admission to the labour market, we support the migration of skilled workers into Germany and also protect standards in the German labour market by verifying salaries and working conditions. Every year, we decide on approximately 450,000

approvals for admission to the labour market. The new eService is also our contribution to further advancing the digital exchange of data between public authorities. In this way, we are furthering the efforts to reduce bureaucracy in the visa procedures.”

Stefan Latuski, CIO of the BA: “With the redesigned digital service and the associated processing software, BA is taking another step towards digitalisation and automation. Only if all the partners and public authorities involved pull together – whether the foreign residents’ registration offices, visa offices, the Central Register for Foreign Citizens or the Federal Employment Agency – can a secure and, above all else, quick exchange of data succeed. We don’t want to stop here, though: there are also several other processes and coordination procedures that can be digitised. Only through a joint effort, the hard work of everyone involved and the cooperation of the lawmakers can we take the further steps towards the goal of paperless collaboration between public authorities.”

The BA will continue to send the advance approvals to employers in the post up to and including June 2024. From July 2024 onwards, the document will only be available online via the BA account of the employer – if the employer so wishes. And even if the advance approval is sent by post, it is now sufficient for the employer to receive a copy of this and to send it by email, for example.

How the eService for the electronic approval for admission to the labour market works: 

Employers log in to their account in online portal of the BA and enter the required information under “advance approval”. Some data, especially that relating to the company, is already filled out in advance. The employer only needs to enter the personal data of the employee or skilled worker and the details of the employment contract. And if they want to employ several people for the same job, they can use the employment data for further applications without having to fill out a new application. 

Once all the information has been checked and the approval has been given by the BA, the data is automatically transferred to the Central Register for Foreign Citizens. At the same time, the employer is also able to download the advance approval via their online account.

In future, employers will be able to send the advance approval by email to the respective employee or skilled worker in the foreign country, who will then take the digital copy to the visa office. Original copies of the documents will no longer be required. The visa office will then compare the information on the copy with the data in the Central Register for Foreign Citizens.

Further information on the digital service is available on our web page on the advance approval.