First changes to the Skilled Immigration Act come into force

Ausschnitt von einer Hand, die einen Reisepass und eine Karte festhält

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The shortage of qualified specialists is affecting the country's economy and prosperity. A more open immigration law for qualified specialists from abroad should counteract this shortage. Germany is implementing an improvement in immigration law so that qualified specialists from countries outside the EU and EEA are offered secure prospects for working, studying and training in Germany. The Act on the further development of the immigration of qualified specialists will come into force in three stages by June 2024. The first regulations came into force on 18 November 2023 and are summarized below.

Employment of recognised qualified specialists (§ 18a, 18b of the Residence Act)

From 18 November 2023, recognised qualified specialists will be entitled to a residence permit if all requirements are met. In addition, qualified specialists who have entered the country may work in any non-regulated profession. This means that if a qualified specialist has a qualified vocational training or a university degree that has been recognised in Germany, they are not restricted to jobs related to this training. There are exceptions for regulated professions.

Changes to the EU Blue Card:

The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for university graduates and specialists in certain professions from third countries. The following requirements for the issue of the EU Blue Card are facilitated:

  • Lower salary threshold: Minimum salary of 45.3% of the annual contribution assessment ceiling for pension insurance for bottleneck occupations and young professionals, and 50% for all other occupations.
  • IT specialists can obtain the EU Blue Card even without a university degree, but with at least three years of comparable professional experience. In this case, the lower salary threshold for bottleneck professions applies.
  • Expansion of bottleneck professions: In addition to the previous bottleneck professions (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine), a number of other professions, including those in the healthcare, education and information and communication technology sectors, are also considered bottleneck professions.
  • Mobility within the EU with the EU Blue Card is made easier.

Changes for professional drivers:

The approvement of the employment of professional drivers from third countries by the Federal Employment Agency is facilitated by the elimination of the need to check the requirements for practicing the profession. In addition, there will no longer be a priority check and proof of language skills will no longer be required upon entry.


You can find more information in our Information library.

The full text of the law can be read here.