July 18, 2013

Germany has implemented various changes to their immigration law effective July 1, 2013, including changes to visa processing and new options for foreign employees with vocational training. In addition, on June 1, 2013 Germany has launched an electronic database (Visa-Warndatei) containing information on immigration violations and criminal activity.

What’s Changed?

New employment visa procedure
Previously, German consulates and embassies were required to request an approval from the Foreign Office with jurisdiction over the foreigner’s future place of residence before issuing a work (D-type) visa. As of July 1, 2013 this approval is no longer required for applications from foreigners without family and who have not held a German residence permit for employment purposes before.

The consulate or embassy is responsible for obtaining approval from the Labor Office with jurisdiction over the foreigner’s future place of work, before being able to issue a work visa. However, as before, a work permit approval application can be submitted to the Labor Office prior to the visa application. Submitting the work permit approval application directly to the Labor Office at least three weeks before date of visa application, or one week in case of an Intra-Company Transfer, should generally ensure that the work authorization has been issued by the time the consulate or embassy contacts the Labor Office, and will therefore expedite the processing of the visa.

New options for foreigners with vocational training
Germany has opened up the possibility for foreigners with vocational training, but no college degree, to apply for work authorization in specific shortage occupations. Their vocational qualifications will need to be assessed by the German authorities as to be equal to a vocational program offered in Germany prior to applying for work authorization.

Launch of Visa-Warndatei
On June 1, 2013 Germany launched this new database, which can be used by German immigration officials to screen applicants. Although applications can be denied based on information in this database, entries will not automatically result in a rejection. Immigration related authorities (Foreign Offices and consular offices) as well as law enforcement authorities (police and public prosecutor offices) will be able to upload information on immigration related and other criminal offences to this new database. Previously other European databases, such as the Schengen Information System and the Visa Information System, were used already to screen applicants.


German companies are advised to continue to submit work permit applications at least three weeks (one week for ICT) in advance of an employee’s visa application in order to expedite the visa processing.

Although the change in work visa procedure for first time applicants without dependents is supposed to decrease processing times, companies are reminded that the implementation of any new immigration process can initially result in delays.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Carlijn Langeveld, Coordinator Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Germany to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.

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