German Skilled Immigration Law (Reformed) Came into Force: What is Changing Now?

German Skilled Immigration Law

Today, 18th November 2023, the new German Skilled Immigration Law (Reformed) comes into effect. Germany is facing a huge shortage of skilled workers. That’s why the government reformed the Skilled Immigration Law.

The new Skilled Immigration Law is intended to stimulate the job market. Here is an overview of the key questions and answers.

Skilled Immigration Law (reformed) came into force in Germany: what is new?

With this reformed Skilled Immigration Law in Germany, there are lots of changes coming into force. Such as:

  • Opportunity card (Chancenkarte)
  • Changes for asylum seekers
  • Parents can be with you

Let’s explain them a little bit more for you one by one. So that you can understand what is changing in the new law.

Opportunity card (Chancenkarte)

The reformed law will introduce a so-called ‘opportunity card’ based on a point system. The selection criteria for prospective immigrants who choose this path include language skills, work experience, age, and a connection to Germany.

Foreign skilled workers must now achieve a minimum salary of around €43,800, instead of the previous €58,400 gross annually. However, the implementation of this opportunity card will be around the summer of 2024.

New hope for asylum seekers

For asylum seekers, there is good news. Those who arrived before March 29 in 2023 and have qualifications and a job offer can stay in Germany. But they need to withdraw their asylum application. After that need to apply for a residence permit as skilled workers.

However previously, one had to leave the country first and then apply for a work visa from abroad.

Parents can be with you!

Another great news for immigrants is here! Highly qualified professionals from non-EU countries coming to Germany now can bring their parents and they can stay forever in Germany.

In the future, skilled migrants should have the opportunity to bring not only their spouses and children but also their parents and in-laws.

However, family reunification requires securing the livelihood of the dependents as a prerequisite.On the other hand, the parents cannot apply for social benefits in Germany.

Why was the German Skilled Immigration Law reformed?

There is a significant gap in the job market. At present, 1.73 million positions are vacant in Germany. The urgent need for skilled workers necessitates filling the gap in the job market through immigration.

To minimize the problem the new Skilled Immigration Law, which gradually comes into effect this Saturday (18.11.2023). Government and experts think that this action will minimize the shortage of skilled workers in Germany.

The Federal Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration Reem Alabali-Radovan from SPD said, We are creating a modern immigration law that is up to date and thus leading globally. The law has been overdue, and proactive reforms have been neglected for too long.

Wasn’t there skilled immigration law in Germany already?

Yes, Germany had a Skilled Immigration Law since March 2020. The black-red coalition passed the law to ease the entry of qualified workers from non-EU countries. Ongoing personnel shortages, especially among skilled workers, have prompted the reform.

The Skilled Immigration Law of 2020 did not have the desired effect, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the bureaucratic effort for foreigners who want to come to Germany as migrant workers is still high.

How critical is the situation in the German job market?

Currently, German companies have about 1.73 million open positions that they cannot fill, according to the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in its quarterly survey. In October alone, the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit or BA) reported 748,665 unfilled positions.

According to BA, the average time it takes to fill a vacancy is currently 153 days. This reflects the difficulties many companies face in finding suitable workers and professionals despite increasing unemployment and underemployment.

Does the law go far enough?

The Skilled Immigration Law is an important welcome signal, said the Federal Association of German Employers’ Associations (BDA). However, it can only be a first step.

The migration administration is currently overwhelmed. Workers with a job contract, ready to start tomorrow, wait for months before they can begin.

How much interest is there?

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) offers consultations for people abroad interested in working in Germany. According to BAMF, there were 71,409 consultations on skilled immigration last year, an increase of 13 percent compared to the previous year.

Where the German Economy Depends on Immigration

Immigration aims to alleviate the shortage of skilled workers in the job market. That’s why, the Skilled Immigration Law will come into effect gradually. But what does this mean for the economy?

Germany faces an urgent need for skilled workers, and filling the gap in the job market requires immigration. Currently, about every seventh employee in Germany is an immigrant.

Foreign workers constitute around 15 percent of those with social insurance, according to statistics from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). To ensure that well-trained skilled workers continue to come to Germany, the Skilled Immigration Law comes into effect gradually from today.

Where Skilled Immigration is already successful

Some professional groups already demonstrate the offset of decreasing numbers of German workers by the inclusion of skilled workers from abroad. An evaluation by the BA for the period from 2018 to 2023. For example, it shows in the manufacturing sector, the number of Germans there has decreased. On the other hand, immigrants has increased.

There is also such a trend in the finance and insurance sector: The number of Germans decreased by 22,000, while the number of foreign workers increased by 19,000.

However, their share is still significantly below average at just under six percent. In some professions, both the number of Germans and immigrants is growing significantly. For example, in healthcare, information and communication technology or in the field of education and teaching.

FAQs: German Skilled Immigration Law

What are the key changes introduced by the reformed German Skilled Immigration Law, effective November 18, 2023?

The reformed law introduced a significant innovation known as the ‘opportunity card,’ based on a point system that considers language skills, work experience, age, and a connection to Germany.

This card lowers the minimum salary requirement for foreign skilled workers to around €43,800 annually, a decrease from the previous €58,400.

Additionally, the law brings positive changes for asylum seekers and allows skilled migrants to bring their parents to Germany.

How does the reformed Skilled Immigration Law impact the German job market and economy?

The law is an important response to the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, with around 1.73 million vacant positions. It aims to alleviate this gap by gradually introducing measures like the ‘opportunity card’ and providing flexibility for asylum seekers.

Skilled immigration is vital for the German economy, where every seventh employee is an immigrant.

Why was the Skilled Immigration Law in Germany reformed, and what issues does it aim to address?

The German Skilled Immigration Law was reformed to tackle a severe shortage of skilled workers, with approximately 1.73 million open positions that companies are struggling to fill.

The initial law from March 2020 did not have the desired effect, partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and bureaucratic challenges for foreign workers.

The reformed law is a proactive measure to attract skilled professionals and minimize the existing gap in the job market.


In conclusion, we would like to say, that as of November 18, 2023, Germany is embarking on a significant journey with the implementation of the reformed Skilled Immigration Law.

This much-needed step comes in response to the pressing shortage of skilled workers, which has left 1.73 million positions vacant in the country.

The reformed law introduces innovative measures, such as the ‘opportunity card’ and greater flexibility for asylum seekers, signaling a commitment to addressing the critical gaps in the job market.

2 thoughts on “German Skilled Immigration Law (Reformed) Came into Force: What is Changing Now?

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