GERMANY – New Visa Procedure and Revised Employment Ordinance from 1 July 2013
New visa procedures for Germany will take effect from Monday 1 July, whereby the responsibility for approving entry visas for employment purposes will be moved to Germany’s embassies and consulates worldwide, bypassing the local foreigner’s employment office. Additionally, Germany’s new Employment Ordinance comes into effect on 1 July, although clear guidelines on how this will work are yet to be issued.
New Visa Procedure
From Monday 1 July, applications for D visas for foreign nationals coming to Germany for work purposes will be decided by the Embassy or consulate where the application is made without approval being necessary from the local foreigners’ employment office ((Ausländerbehörde) in the assignee's area of residence in Germany. Local labour office approval will still be necessary – the Embassy or consulate will be responsible for obtaining this approval.
The change is designed to speed up processes but, as with all new systems, it is anticipated that there may be some delays as it is implemented.
It is therefore recommended, for new applications for employees or transferees coming to Germany, that the application for employment approval is submitted to the labour office at least three weeks (or one week in the case of International Personnel Exchange applications) in advance of the visa application. This will mean that the approval should be well underway by the time the visa application is made, and that the Embassy/consulate where the visa application is submitted will be able to match the visa application to an approved work authorisation without too much difficulty.
Note that not all nationalities need visas in order to work in Germany – certain “preferred” nationals (Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Koreans, Israelis, and Japanese) may enter without a visa. However, in this case, such applicants may only commence working once they have obtained their biometric residence permit post arrival, which can take several weeks – therefore, in certain cases, although visa exempt, “preferred nationals” may elect to apply for a visa.
The new visa procedures do not apply to applicants with dependent family members or to those who have previously held residence permits with employment authorisation for Germany. Such cases will still require local foreigners’ office approval.
New Employment Ordinance
Germany’s new Employment Ordinance is also coming into effect from Monday 1 July. The new rules are designed to attract mid-skilled talent to shortage occupations in Germany.
In essence, the new rules should permit applicants with vocational qualifications to have these qualifications vetted and assessed by German authorities and then to be given permission to work in certain, shortage areas.
So far, detailed written guidance on how exactly this will work has not been published, and so it is difficult to say exactly how the scheme will work in practice. Some information from the Federal Government can be found here.
- Note the new visa procedures from 1 July 2013 and act accordingly – for applicants requiring visas to enter Germany, make applications for work approval in Germany in advance of the visa application being submitted