Immigration Fast Facts – Germany

At Emigra Worldwide, we know that even experienced expats can be caught off-guard when immigrating to a new country. With that in mind, here are four aspects of immigration that can trip up – or thrill! – first-time travelers to Germany.

The Place to Be!

Being the largest EU economy, Germany is an increasingly attractive destination for business immigrants, and the population is growing due to the rise in migrant activity. In particular, Germany is seeking qualified foreign workers in the shortage occupations (e.g. engineers, technicians, scientists, IT). There are several large cities in Germany with attractive cosmopolitan mindsets, attracting a younger population, with the average age of immigrants being 45 years and younger.

Considering Dependent Family Members

In the majority of cases, dependent family members are permitted to work without a separate work authorization.

German Efficiencies

Living up to its stereotype, Germany offers some useful efficiency to the Immigration process. While there is no formal mechanism for expedited processing, authorities offer a work permit pre-approval, so clients can check beforehand if an application is likely to be successful at the labour market. This helps avoid any complications and disappointment at a later stage. Processes do vary depending on the type of application; however, there are no government fees for work permit applications, which is extremely rare. Additionally, nationals of certain countries have a more simplified process and access to the labour market. This is typically the case for non-visa nationals; e.g. USA, Japan, South Korea, Australian, New Zealand, Israel, Canada. These individuals benefit from being able to enter Germany and apply for a work and residence permit in-country.

Further to this, certain immigration processes, such as post-arrival steps, can be completed on behalf of an individual by a 3rd party. This allows employees to focus on settling into their new environment while the immigration requirements are taken care of for them.

Some Inefficiency

The immigration authorities complete security checks on certain nationalities. This is subject to political climates between countries at any given time and, as such, is an internal protocol with no published list of impacted nationalities.

In some jurisdictions, the waiting time for residence permit filing appointments can be long, due to factors such as understaffing and the refugee crisis. In particular, we have observed delays in Essen, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Stuttgart. In most cases, booking an appointment is only possible once the town hall registration in Germany has taken place. In some cases, certain immigration authorities offer an online booking system, but there are very few appointments that remain available in the coming months.