At a Glance

As a reminder, the following changes to the German immigration system will take effect March 1, 2020:

  • A new departure notification requirement for early terminations, for both employers and foreign nationals;
  • Facilitated work authorization for foreign nationals with vocational training and professional experience;
  • Fast-track skilled migration immigration processing for local hires; and
  • Review of overall compliance of sponsoring companies during application processing.

The situation

A new immigration bill will overhaul the German skilled migration system starting March 1, 2020.

A closer look

The bill introduces the following key changes:


New departure notification requirement

  • Effective March 1, 2020, employers will, for the first time in Germany, need to notify the local immigration office of early terminations of assignments or employment within four weeks of the employer's knowledge of termination.
  • Foreign nationals should notify the local immigration office of early terminations within two weeks of the employee's termination.
  • Notifications need to be submitted with the respective immigration office. Currently, information that needs to be provided with the notification includes the name of employer and employee, birth date and nationality of employee and termination date.
  • Notification is not required if the planned assignment or employment end date is less than one month in the future.

Improved access to work authorization based on vocational training and professional experience

  • Vocationally-trained foreign nationals will be able to obtain a six-month job search visa, where no visa or permit option is currently available for these applicants.
  • Vocationally-trained workers will be able to obtain work authorization for non-shortage roles, where they can now only obtain work authorization for shortage occupations.
  • Workers with extensive relevant professional experience will be able to obtain a visa in shortage occupations such as information technology and engineering.

Fast track process and opportunity to create central immigration office

  • The Government Fast Track Processes will only be applicable for locally-hired foreign workers, including EU Blue Card applicants.
  • The new Skilled Immigration Act states that each of the 16 German States can create central immigration offices, which would consolidate processes and function as one-stop-shop for the newly implemented Government Fast Track Process.
  • In German States that will not create a Central Immigration Office, the Government Fast Track Process will be processed by the normal Central Immigration Office.

Sponsor compliance review

  • The Federal Employment Agency would review employer compliance with tax and social security, employer solvency as well as other corporate information as a standard part of the current work authorization pre-approval process through new application forms requiring additional employer information.
  • New forms have not been published.
  • It is possible that after March 1, 2020, the Federal Employment Agency may request additional documents after submission of the application.


The new law increases Germany's attractiveness for foreign talent while increasing the compliance burden on sponsoring employers.

During a transitional phase, Fragomen expects processing delays of several weeks for all permit types for skilled migration, including the EU Intracompany Transferee Permit and EU Blue Card. Employers and foreign nationals are advised to plan for such delays in determining work start dates.


The history of the bill is depicted below:

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Looking ahead

Over the coming months, German authorities have to adapt to new processes and requirements – employer should therefore expect inconsistent handling of requirements and new processes by German authorities.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.