Germany searches for skilled workers
von Peter Scheller
From 1st March 2020 skilled workers and professional specialists are able to move to Germany in order to work in Germany. This is due to the Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz (Specialist Immigration Code), which allows skilled personal from non-EU or non-EEA-countries to live and work in Germany. The previous restrictions in controlling the number of specialists and skilled workers into Germany have been reduced significantly.
The cornerstones of the new law are the following:
Specialists and skilled workers
Specialists and skilled workers are persons from third party countries which have a
- German job qualification or a comparable foreign job qualification or
- German University degree or a comparable foreign University degree
Up to now only persons with a qualified University degree could apply for a working permit. Now any job qualification (e.g. as a specialist nurse for geriatrics) is sufficient. There are also special rules for IT-specialists. They do not require a job qualification or University degree but need to show three years of professional experience and a minimum monthly salary of 4.140 Euro. The qualification they have will be examined and any additional qualifications they may need will be determined.
In addition to that the Priority Review (Vorrangprüfung) has been abandoned. This means that there will be no prior review to determine whether there is a German resident person who could do the job.
Immigration without a German labour contract
Persons may also apply for a visa to enable them to search for an apprenticeship place or employment. This visa will last for six months. However, the immigrant has to prove that he/she will be able to finance the livelihood of himself/herself and family members while staying in Germany during this period.
Persons searching under this initiative who are aged 45 or over have to prove that they have a minimum monthly income of 3.795 Euro or a sufficient pension plan.
Foreign job searchers may now find it easier to get a residency and working permit in Germany. However, they have to be aware of other German legal requirements as follows:
German labour law in general protects the right of employees. Nevertheless, any person who wants to live and work in Germany should be aware of certain key features of the labour law (see https://scheller-international.com/blog-beitraege/expatriates-10-issues-to-be-considered-if-working-in-germany.html).
Every person who lives and works in Germany is liable to pay German income tax. The German employer withholds the wage tax and transfers it to the German tax authorities. In general an employee does not have to file a yearly tax return. However, there are important exceptions to this and a tax return must be filed:
- in the year of arrival or departure from Germany
- if the employee receives income from other German or foreign sources, such as business, rental or capital income.
- if the employee wants to claim certain job related or private expenses
- and in certain other situations
The person has to declare his or her total income. The wage tax will be credited against the income tax.
Social security system
Every employee who lives and works in Germany becomes part of Germany’s social security system. This means that he or she will be liable to make contributions for pension, heathcare, , unemployment and accident insurance. Half of the contributions will be paid by the employer, the other half by the employee. The employer withholds the employee’s part and pays it to Germany’s social security agencies.
Employees with higher incomes can avoid Germany’s social health contribution if he or she has a sufficient private health insurance.
Author: Peter Scheller, Steuerberater, Master of International Taxation