Moving countries is a complicated and stressful experience. Add to that, navigating the intimidating German immigration system and starting a whole new life in Germany, and it's enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. We have been asked by findajobingermany to share our expert knowledge, and answer some of your most asked questions about visas to help you make an informed choice before you apply.
So you want to work in Germany? Great choice. As software developers, you will be welcome additions to the German workforce due to the current shortfall of qualified personnel. The Skilled Workers Act which came into force in March 2020 has made it easier than ever for German employers to select their talent from non-EU countries. The language barrier and the immigration system however can be daunting hurdles for potential immigrants. Whilst we can’t teach you German in one blog post, we can give you the lowdown on choosing which visa is best for you.
If you hold a university degree related to your work, you will most likely be applying for the EU Blue Card or (if your proposed salary didn’t meet the threshold) a Visa for Skilled Workers. Whilst those with vocational experience or a degree in an area unrelated to their work will most likely apply for the Visa for IT Specialists or a Company Specialist Visa. Comparatively the EU Blue Card has more benefits in the short term but all are straightforward routes to working in Germany.
You need to be a non-EU citizen, hold a university degree related to your work and pass a minimum salary threshold, which depends on the area you will be working in. Lucky for you Information & communication technology and database & network professionals are two of the highest in demand.
You must hold a binding job offer or work contract lasting at least one year. This job must provide you with a minimum pre-tax salary of €56800 p.a. in general, or €44304 p.a. in so-called MINT professions (Maths, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology) where there are many vacancies to fill.
You have gained a university degree that meets certain requirements and is related to your job. Your educational qualifications (if they are not German) will need to be evaluated, and approved by the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung, or ZAV). The Anabin database holds information about both your university and degree that will be used to calculate the equivalency of your qualifications. Not all universities or foreign degrees are present on the database, but it is constantly being updated and there are additional steps that can be taken, in certain cases, if yours does not appear.
This visa provides the same working rights as the Blue Card, but without the requirement of a recognized degree. You must also have a binding job offer, with an acceptable salary within the normal range for the position. Additionally, the German employment agency (Bundesagenteur für Arbeit) needs to verify your qualifications as a specialist in your field of work, as well as make sure your working conditions meet the requirements of German Labor Law. This justification process by ZAV is individual to each applicant, it can take up to a few months to get approval.
For both visas you must also:-
have proof of health insurance. Germany requires all its residents, including the new ones, to have a valid health insurance policy. Statutory health insurance will be paid directly from your salary when you start work, so it is recommended to purchase a travel health insurance policy to cover you, and your family before your statutory insurance becomes active. A perk of statutory health insurance is that your immediate family members (spouse and children) will also be covered at no additional cost automatically under your policy.
have a valid passport. Any visa issued will be connected to your passport so both need to be valid for at least 6-12 months starting from the visa appointment at your local Diplomatic Mission.
The differences beyond simply having a degree or not, are a little more subtle.
The speed. The maximum processing time by law is 90 days, once you’ve made a completed application. Germany wants skilled workers and wants them now.
A faster route to permanent residency. If you are keen to make Germany your permanent home this will be of interest to you. Blue Card holders can apply for permanent residency after only 21 months with a German language qualification at B1 level. Even with basic language skills at A1 level, you can apply after only 33 months. When you consider the usual waiting period before you can apply for permanent residency is 5 years, this is a significant reduction. Further exceptions are available depending on your individual circumstances.
Easier family reunion. Your spouse can join you without any language requirements and the validity period of their permit will be automatically issued for the same duration as your Blue Card. As with all family reunion cases, your spouse will be free to work for anyone, even themselves as a freelancer, whilst you will be restricted by the Blue Card to working only for your employer.
Time outside Germany. Within the Schengen states the holder can visit as a tourist without an additional visa for 90 days in every 180, and with the EU blue card, you can spend up to 1 year outside Germany in non-EU countries without invalidating it.
There is even the opportunity to convert other types of visas to an EU Blue card whilst you are in Germany. If your salary increases, you complete the degree recognition procedure, or you complete a recognized degree you would be eligible. Depending on your circumstances this might be something to consider.
Whichever visa you choose VISARIGHT makes the process fast, effortless and affordable. Our expert knowledge of the immigration system means we can guide our clients clearly and give realistic estimates for processing times. Unfortunately we cannot give specific processing times here as this is something particular to individual diplomatic Missions and their current capacities.
We calculate your chances of successful immigration completely free of charge with our Eligibility Check algorithm, all it takes is two minutes of your time answering a few straightforward questions about your profile. Your customer success manager will prepare documentation, arrange consular appointments and communicate with authorities on your behalf. You will be updated on the progress of your application through our platform throughout the entirety of the relocation process. No queues, and no red tape, we even offer a money back guarantee. Don’t just take our word for it, our five-star customer reviews speak for themselves. Good luck with your job applications and we hope that your journey to working in Germany is a smooth one.
I hope this helped. If so, reach out via LinkedIn. If you’re interested in learning more about how findajobingermany.de can help you find your job as a software developer, Data Scientist or Tester you are invited to watch our free online training video.