The “Skilled Immigration Act”: A new law makes it easy for college graduates to move to Germany

The “Skilled Immigration Act”:  A new law makes it easy for college graduates to move to Germany

Germany is widely acclaimed as the economic powerhouse of Europe, but did you know that the country is also desperately short of skilled manpower? Introducing Germany’s Skilled Immigration Act.

The lack of workers is only going to worsen in the next ten years — digitalization is marching on at dizzying speeds, and the baby-boomers are retiring in waves, leaving job vacancies that no one can fill.

So, the German government took desperate action in 2020.

By passing brand new legislation, they rolled out a red carpet invitation to qualified migrants to move to Germany.

The new law is called the Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz. In English it’s officially known as the “Skilled Immigration Act”. And I can assure you that this law is there to help skilled workers migrate, even if the word workers is missing from the English title.

Now, in 2020 we all know that international borders closed and people’s plans suddenly changed due to the pandemic. So I completely understand if you missed the memo about Germany’s invitation to immigrate. But let’s make sure you don’t miss it now:

It’s astonishingly easy to migrate to Germany if you have an academic qualification.

Who exactly is eligible to migrate under Germany’s “Skilled Immigration Act”?

Unfortunately, many searches on German government websites lead to confusion, because official terminology so often loses its real meaning in English translation. It doesn’t help that the key words are not translated consistently. So you may have come across immigration rules for “specialists”, “professionals”, and “skilled workers”, and wondered which group you belong to.

Don’t worry, it’s actually not too complicated to understand.

First, let’s take a quick step back to explain the German word Fachkräfte. Fachkräfte includes both qualified professionals with academic, university level qualifications AND skilled workers (in the sense of trade). Plus, IT experts who have work experience are also Fachkräfte, even if they don’t hold a university degree.

So, if you have a college degree, you are a qualified professional and thus a Fachkraft.

What are the conditions for taking advantage of the Skilled Immigration Act?

The next step is to establish whether you’ll be able to take advantage of the new law.

There are two main conditions:

  1. your qualification (or at least the institution where you studied) must be officially recognized, and
  2. you need to take a job in your field (or plan to)

That’s it!

There’s no need for years of work experience under your belt, proof of a high salary at previous jobs, or a Master’s degree, as some other industrialized nations require. Even proof of German language ability is not required for academic-qualified applicants under the Skilled Immigration Act (though I would highly recommend learning German to enrich your quality of life).

A recognized Bachelor’s degree is good enough. You’re officially welcome in Germany.

What does the Skilled Immigration Act entitle me to?

As a university graduate from a recognized institution, you can take advantage of these benefits through the Skilled Immigration Act:

  • You can apply for a six month job-seeking visa to Germany
  • If a company in Germany offers you a job, you can apply for a work permit for qualified professionals.
  • When the authorities process your work permit application, they won’t first insist that a local person be considered for the job. If you are offered the position and you’re a qualified professional, the new law says that you have first dibs on the job, even though you’re a foreigner.
  • Possessing a work visa for qualified professionals also offers you a fast-track route to permanent residence.

So there are numerous short and long term benefits for qualified professionals who move to Germany.

Plus, one further perk of this incredibly generous offer to skilled migrants is of course that you get to enjoy living in Germany (and bring your family with you)!

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