The skilled immigration scene in Germany is about to undergo a major upheaval, with changes expected to take effect on November 18, 2023. The German parliament passed the revised Skilled Immigration Act in the summer intending to resolve the urgent labour shortage in the country, which is especially acute in industries like logistics, IT and healthcare.
The EU Blue Card system, which is undergoing a significant overhaul, is the cornerstone of these modifications. The EU Blue Card salary thresholds for both normal and bottleneck professions will be significantly lowered.
The minimum pay for professions experiencing a labour shortage and for those entering the workforce for the first time is reduced to 45.3% of the annual contribution assessment maximum for pension insurance, which will amount to 39,682.80 EUR in 2023. In 2023, the threshold will be 50% for all other vocations, or approximately 43,800 EUR.
With the expansion of eligibility requirements, young graduates may be eligible for an EU Blue Card provided their employment in Germany satisfies the minimum salary requirements.
A significant development is that IT professionals who do not hold a degree can now obtain an EU Blue Card by proving they have three years of relevant work experience. The reduced pay threshold that applies to occupations with a backlog will apply to them.
The EU Blue Card qualifying list of bottleneck occupations will be significantly expanded. This covers jobs like managers of mines and factories, IT service managers, medical personnel like chemists and veterinarians, and teachers.
Holders of EU Blue Cards from other EU member states will have more mobility rights in Germany, enabling both short- and long-term stays for work-related business travel.
EU Blue Card holders will benefit from streamlined procedures for family reunification, which will simplify the process for their relatives to join them in Germany without requiring lengthy visa applications.
As of November 18, 2023, vocationally qualified workers and those holding university degrees will no longer be limited to positions that directly align with their qualifications. Furthermore, the approval procedures for foreign-born professional drivers would be streamlined, doing away with the requirement for specialised licences and language proficiency.
Starting on November 1, 2023, people will be able to text to confirm that their PIN letter for online ID cards has been received. This novel method eliminates the need for an in-person appointment and enables hassle-free document pickup at dispensing machines.
There will be additional adjustments in the spring of 2025. These include, following international norms, the sole use of digital biometric photos for new papers and the immediate issuance of PIN letters upon application submission.
Germany has demonstrated a proactive approach to addressing the growing need for skilled workers and fostering a more dynamic and inclusive workforce through its commitment to simplifying and adjusting its immigration regulations.
These adjustments present Germany as a friendly location for highly qualified workers as the world economy shifts, providing a model for other countries facing comparable labour shortages.
The goal of the Qualified Immigration Act is to draw qualified individuals from outside the European Union to alleviate Germany's labour crisis, which is especially acute in industries like technology, logistics, medical care, and IT.
People can use text messaging to confirm that their PIN letter for online ID cards has been received, which allows them to pick up their documents at dispensing machines without making an appointment in person.