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Introduction to immigration to Germany

From 2005 Germany has been making a greater attempt to encourage highly skilled workers to move to Germany. While low skilled workers will still find it difficult to gain permission to work in Germany, rules for highly skilled workers have been relaxed. The professions most in need are IT professionals, natural scientists (biologists, chemists, physicists) engineers, professors, and scientific personnel in high technology areas. Because of the great difficulty of obtaining work permission for unskilled workers, we only cover the procedure for skilled workers.

The 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 law also makes an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. Most applicants must report to the German embassy in their home country to apply for and receive work and residency permission.


Under the 2005 act, 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, making it easier for families to decide to move to Germany.


Foreign graduates of German universities have a 18 months to look for a job if they wish to stay in the country, while degree holders from outside of Germany may enter for up to 6 months on a Jobseeker's Visa to look for work. According to a 2015 study from Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees approximately 54% of foreign students choose to stay and work in Germany after they graduate. Many degree courses in Germany are taught in English, and thousands of vacancies in fields from IT to scientific research exist in Germany for English speakers.

Self employment

Options for self employment in Germany include the Entrepreneur Visa, which allows migrants with a viable business plan and significant capital to establish a new business in Germany. There is no fixed investment requirement for this visa, but a minimum of EUR 250,000 is usually recommended.

Schengen visas

It should also be noted that Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement. With a Schengen Visa, you can enter one Schengen country and travel to other Schengen visa countries freely. For more information please see our dedicated Schengen visa page.

Further Information, help, and advice has over twenty years of experience helping people immigrate to countries all over the World. Whether you wish to visit, work, study, or hire workers in Germany our specialist team of immigration experts can help you with one to one advice, information, and representation when applying for your German visa or work permit.

For more information and advice on German immigration law and visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at