Immigration to Germany

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The new German Immigration Act, which came into force on 01 January 2005, provides for highly qualified persons to be granted permanent residence and permission to work from the outset, rather than five-year work permits as was previously the case. They must have a concrete job offer and get permission from the German Employment Agency. The new law also makes an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. Would-be immigrants will now report to one central place, most likely.

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The German embassy in their home country, to receive work and residency permission.
Family members who enter Germany with highly skilled workers who have obtained a visa, or family members who join them later in Germany, can obtain the right to work in Germany as well, which should also make it easier for families to decide to move to Germany.

Another entirely new development in Germany will be regarded positively by foreign students. Foreign graduates of German universities will have a year to look for a job if they wish to stay in the country. Previously it was quite difficult for foreign students to remain in Germany upon completion of their studies.

Self-employed immigrants will also feel more welcomed under the new law, provided they invest one million euro and create ten new German jobs.
It should also be noted that Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement. With a Schengen Visa, you can entry one Schengen country and travel to other Schengen visa countries freely.

The new Immigration Act has replaced the former German Green Card Initiative, which made it easier for foreign IT specialists to work in Germany. It is generally agreed that the Green Card was unsuccessful, in that it did not succeed in bringing about the additional IT workers as was expected. This new provision of the Immigration Act is not limited to IT specialists.

How to apply for permanent residence
As of the 1 January 2005 introduction of the new German Immigration Act, foreigners need only obtain a German residence permit, which gives them the right to work, rather than separate residence and work permits. Citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland may apply for their residence and work permit while remaining in Germany as visitors. Citizens of these countries, however, are not allowed to work in Germany until after their work and residence permit application is approved.

Citizens of most other countries are required to apply for and obtain a residence and work permit prior to entering Germany at their German consulate.

The procedure as of 1 January 2005 is as follows:
Stage 1: The residence permit application (which also provides access to the labour market) for the candidate is received by the German embassy in the country where the candidate lives.
Stage 2: The Embassy passes the application to the immigration office (the Auslaenderbehoerde) in the place where the job is to take place for initial approval. The immigration office, in cooperation with the local employment office (the Arbeitsamt) that issues the permission, makes its decision.
Stage 3: If the candidate’s application has been approved, the Embassy provides an entry visa to the candidate.
Stage 4: Upon arriving in Germany, the foreign national and any accompanying family members must apply for their work and residence permits at the local foreigners authority

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