The German government is planning to make comprehensive changes to the immigration of skilled workers in order to simplify access. Read more about the planned changes here.

The Corona crisis of recent years has intensified the substantial demand for staff in many areas of the German labor market, especially in industry, healthcare and the skilled crafts sector, which already existed before the pandemic. The number of job vacancies in Q3 2022 was around 1.8 million, the second-highest figure ever recorded in Germany. According to current studies, the situation will worsen from now on due to the retirement of the “baby boomer generation” (1946 – 1964).

Since this demand cannot be met in the long term by qualified personnel from Germany due to demographic trends and low birth rates, the German government is focusing on rapidly simplifying the immigration of skilled workers to the German labor market for non-European specialists.

In this article, you can find out how employers can now already make provisions for future vacancies and which important changes are planned by the draft legislation (“Referentenentwurf”) on the further development of skilled labor immigration.

Planned amendments to the draft law on simplification of skilled labor immigration

The federal government’s planned amendments to the immigration of skilled workers include, in particular, simplifications in the application for residence permits and their requirements.

a) Simplifications when applying for an EU Blue Card (“Blue Card”

The application for an EU Blue Card “(Blue Card”) is to be made considerably easier in the future. The most important changes include:

  • Lowering of the minimum salary thresholds from the previous EUR 58,400 to around EUR 49,580 and for so-called shortage professions (including engineers, doctors, specialists in IT) and for career starters in the first three years after completing their university studies from EUR 45,552 to around EUR 39,682
  • Extension of the legally determined shortage professions to managers in production in the manufacture of goods, in construction as well as in logistics, in the provision of services in the field of IT as well as in the provision of special services such as child care or in the health care sector
  • No need for approval from the foreigners authority in the event of a change of job in the first two years
  • No need to apply for a visa for holders of a Blue Card of another EU member state in case of business trips for the duration of 90 in 180 days
  • Simplification of family reunification with EU Blue Card holders by waiving verification requirements with regard to available living space and livelihood security

b) Simplification for students

The employment of student workers from abroad is also to be made easier for employers. In particular, it will in future be possible to flexibly count days worked towards the maximum permissible employment periods and the total permissible working days will be increased from 120 (full) days to 140 working days.

c) Simplification of the deployment of skilled workers

Skilled workers with recognized vocational training or recognized academic training are to be permitted to perform any qualified occupation in the future. The restriction to the practice of the learned profession is intended to be removed.

Furthermore, the draft legislation intends to remove the need for the approval of the Federal Employment Agency in the case of a German university degree.

d) Simplification in the acquisition of the settlement permit

The requirements for applying for a settlement permit, i.e. permission to stay in Germany for an indefinite period, are to be lowered for skilled workers. In future, skilled workers will be able to obtain a settlement permit after just three years instead of the current four years.

e) Simplification of the acquisition of a permanent residence permit

Similarly, periods that foreign employees have spent working in another EU state with a Blue Card, as an academic specialist or student, are to be credited in full or in part towards the minimum period of residence of five years required for the issuance of a permanent residence permit. The only requirement for the crediting is that the respective individual has resided in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany as a Blue Card holder for at least two years at the time of application and was in possession of an EU Blue Card issued by another member state of the European Union immediately prior to the issuance of the Blue Card.

Partially stricter rules for employers

  • Employers are to be obliged to pay the employee the remuneration that was notified to the Federal Employment Agency and on which the granting of the consent or work permit was based.
  • In the future, employers in Germany will also be prohibited from employing non-European foreigners in the event of serious violations of legal obligations under labor, social insurance or tax law.


Whether and to what extent the changes from the draft legislation of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and for Home Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will be implemented is not yet clear. However, the planned amendments are certainly an important first step toward making the German labor market more attractive by international standards in the competition for smart employees and helping hands.

If you have any questions about the changes or need assistance in applying for a residence title for employment purposes, please feel free to contact us. We will support you in applying for all types of visas and residence titles for Germany.

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