Skip to main content
EU Immigration Portal logo
EU Immigration Portal

Germany

Conditions

To work in Germany as a highly-qualified worker, you must first obtain a visa to enter Germany.

You do not need a visa if you are from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the USA.

Once in Germany, you must obtain a residence/settlement permit allowing you to work.

Residence permit for qualified experts during their job search (Sec 18c ResA)

A qualified expert can apply for a residence permit for job search for a maximum duration of 6 months. The highly-qualified expert has been awarded a university degree. If the university degree was not awarded in Germany, it must either be recognised or equivalent to a German university degree.

Settlement Permit for highly-qualified workers (Sec 19 ResA)

Highly-qualified workers include:

  • Scientists with special knowledge;
  • University teachers or assistants with executive functions.

Blue Card (Sec 19a ResA)

Migrants with a completed university degree can apply for a Blue Card EU. If the university degree was not awarded in Germany, it must either be recognised or equivalent to a German university degree. The applicants must present an employment contract / a binding employment offer with a specified minimum salary. This salary stands at two thirds of the annual contribution assessment ceiling for general old age pension insurance (Beitragsbemessungsgrenze zur Rentenversicherung). For occupations that face a labour shortage, the limit stands at 52% of the total amount.

Procedures

Where and how to apply

Visa

You must apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate in your country of origin or permanent residence. The rules of the Residence Act governing the issue of settlement permits are applicable.

Residence permit/Settlement permit

Once in German territory, you can apply for a residence permit or – in case of Sec 19 ResA – a settlement permit. The permit is granted by your local Foreigners Authority.

Documents required

You must provide:

  • a valid passport;
  • health insurance;
  • sufficient financial resources;
  • accommodation;
  • employment contract/offer of employment [not for Residence permit for qualified experts during their job search (Sec 18c ResA)].

Duration of validity of permits

The residence permit for qualified experts during their job search (Sec 18c ResA) is granted for a maximum duration of 6 month.

Settlement permits for the purpose of employment as a highly-qualified worker (Sec 19 ResA) are granted for an indefinite period of time.

The Blue Card EU (Sec 19a ResA) will initially be issued for a maximum of 4 years, or for a shorter period for brief employment contracts. Any change of employment requires approval during the first two years. A national settlement permit will be issued after 33 months of employment at the earliest, subject to payment of contributions to the pension fund during this period, knowledge of German and a number of other conditions. If a certain, higher, level of language skills (level B1) can be proven, the term will be shortened to 21 months.

Appeals

Decisions related to residence permits or settlement permits can be challenged before the local administrative courts.

Decisions related to visa refusals can be examined by the administrative court in Berlin. The local court is only competent if you are already in Germany

Further information

More on residence permits

More on visas

More on work permits

Rights

Residence permit for qualified experts during their job search (Sec 18c ResA)

Unemployment

You are not allowed to work while possessing only a residence permit for job search. You only are allowed to look for a job, but after finding one, you will get another type of residence permit (the Blue Card or a title according to section 18, 19 or 20 AufenthG).

Long-term residence

Residence permit for graduates of a German, a recognised or equivalent foreign university to search for an adequate job. It will be issued for up to six months during which the job-seeker may not be gainfully employed. In case of finding an employment, you need to change to another residence title, e.g. sec. 18, sec. 19 or sec 19a.

 

Settlement Permit for highly-qualified workers (Sec. 19 ResA)
UnemploymentIn the event of unemployment, you are allowed to stay in Germany unless otherwise stated.

Change of employment

Possible at any time, if the new job conforms to requirements.

Long-term residence

Settlement permit

You may be granted a settlement permit after entry.

More on settlement permits

 

Blue Card (Sec. 19a ResA)
UnemploymentIn the event of unemployment, you are allowed to stay in Germany unless otherwise stated.

Change of employment

If your settlement permit refers to a specific employer, a specific professional position or a minimum income, you will need the approval of the Foreigners Authority to change employment, which requires the consent of the Federal Employment Agency, where appropriate.

You can change employment if your new one meets the relevant conditions and procedures.

The following specific minimum income is a prerequisite: Two thirds of the annual contribution assessment ceiling for general old age pension insurance (Beitragsbemessungsgrenze zur Rentenversicherung), which currently stands at € 44,800. For occupations that face a labour shortage, the limit stands currently at € 35,944, or 52% of the total amount.

Long-term residence

A national settlement permit will be issued after 33 months of employment at the earliest, subject to payment of contributions to the pension fund during this period, knowledge of German and a number of other conditions. If a certain, higher, level of language skills (level B1) can be proven, the term will be shortened to 21 months.