Following the recent German elections, which was won by the governing SPD-Greens coalition of Chancellor Schröder, it now seems certain that the new German immigration act will come into force on 1 January 2003 as planned. We include some brief details of the new act below:
- Graduates of German Universities will be allowed to remain in the country while looking for a job for up to one year after graduation.
- A new immigration scheme will be introduced for people near the top of their profession, who will be able to apply for permanent residency immediately. This new category will cover scientists or highly specialized scientific personnel, and certain highly skilled employees. Those who are highly skilled employees will need to have a job offer with a salary level of at least two times the level where they would pay the maximum contribution for health insurance as required under German immigration law. At the current time applicants with annual salaries above 79,200 Euros would qualify as highly skilled employees.
- There will be a compulsory course for new immigrants to give them an introduction to the German language, history and culture, and the German Constitution.
The German Interior Ministry has confirmed that the above changes will come into force on new year’s day. The only major exception is article 20 of the new immigration act, which will bring in a points-based immigration scheme similar to those of other countries such as Australia and Canada. Interior Minister Schily has announced that the points-based immigration scheme will not be implemented any sooner than around 2010.