ntroduction of Blue Card
The EU Directive on the Blue Card gets part of German law in Germany at 1. August 2012 by the Act to implement the highly qualified Directive of the European Union . In particular the Residence Act was modified. Implementing EU law the Blue Card is going to be the residence title for highly qualified foreigners while stipulating a minimum salary requirement. For 2012 the regular minimum salary will be 44.800,00 € but could be as low as 35.000,00 € in especially deficient
areas. After three years the holder of a Blue card will be eligible for a settlement permit as long as his job contract is still ongoing. German language skills are still required. Good German language skills, B 1, however, even further reduce the eligibility
period for a settlement permit to two years. Family members of Blue Card holders do not have to possess German language skills to join their spouse and, after joining their spouse, are allowed to start working immediately without restrictions.
Status of Students
Students are now allowed to work for 120 days or 240 half days in a year alongside their studies while previously this was restricted to 90 days or 180 days respectively.
Following the successful termination of one´s studies here in Germany, the new law provides for an extension of the residence title for searching an appropriate job for up to 18 months now rather than the one year limit. While searching for a job, the residence title allows to work without any restrictions.
Quick Road to a Settlement Permit for former Students
Students having successfully finished their studies in Germany are basically eligible for a settlement permit after two years of legal work in Germany and payment of compulsory or voluntary contributions into the statutory pension scheme for at least 24 months. In cases where the former student is self employed evidence of an entitlement to comparable benefits from an insurance or pension scheme or from an insurance company is sufficient. The general requirements such as German language skills still apply. Noteworthy is the reduction in time from 5 years to two years.
New Residence Title for Searching for Work for Qualified Job seekers
Having a university diploma from a German university or a comparable degree from a foreign university now allows for a residence title for the purpose of searching work in Germany in his field of expertise. The applicant has to show that his livelihood and expenses are secured. The maximum duration for which job search residence title is going to be issued is six months. An extension is
ruled out and the title does not as such permit to work. A reapplication is possible once the applicant has left Germany and spent at least as much time outside of Germany as he has spent in Germany on account of the job search residence title.
Easier Access to Self Employment
Formerly, the law put some strict requirements on getting a residence title for purposes of self employment. Whereas there used to be the requirement of an overriding economic interest or a special regional need, those qualifiers (overriding/special) have been deleted. Also the provision indirectly calling for an investment of at least 250.000 € and the creation of 5 jobs is no longer to be found in the law. With a sound and viable business plan, sufficient capital and financing, a positive effect on the employment and training situation and an endorsement of the competent trade and industry authorities such a residence title could well be applied for.
More importantly, having finished one´s studies in Germany, or working as a scientist or researcher, access to self employment, at least in the letter of the law, is even more facilitated. Here the main requirement is that the proposed activity has a strong enough connection with the gained university diploma or the profession as researcher or scientist.
It remains to be seen how the law is going to be implemented in practice.
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F A Qs
Who is eligible for a Blue Card?
A foreign national is eligible for a Blue Card EU (residence permit according to § 19a AufenthG n.F.) if he/she holds a German university degree, a foreign but recognized university diploma or a foreign degree comparable to a German degree.
In contrast to the US Greencard, the Blue Card is only granted for a specific job, which generates an annual gross pay of 44 800€, or 34 944€ in case of so-called shortage occupations (scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, and IT specialists).
How long is the Blue Card valid?
The Blue Card EU is limited to a maximum period of four years. If the employment relationship lasts less than four years, the Blue Card is granted for the duration of the employment contract plus another additional three months.
Will a priority check take place? Will members of the German labor market receive privileged treatment? Will the working conditions be checked?
A priority check as well as an inspection of the working conditions will be waived if the income requirement of 44 800€ is met.
For graduates of national universities working in so-called shortage occupations, a priority check and the inspection of working conditions will also be waived.
For graduates of foreign universities, the priority check will be foregone if a job offer for a shortage occupation exists. An inspection of working conditions, however, will take place.
Can family members of Blue Card holders enter Germany at the same time?
Yes. Family members may accompany the Blue Card holder and will receive residence permits in Germany as well.
Can family members of Blue Card holders work freely within Germany?
Family members of Blue Card holders may immediately work without restrictions.
Is it necessary for spouses to have knowledge of the German language prior to the arrival?
Spousal reunification may not be made conditional on integration efforts which may or may not have taken place prior to the arrival. Proof of basic German language skills is not required.
When can Blue card holders receive permanent residency?
Blue card holders can receive permanent residency after 33 months; if German language skills according to level B1 can be proven, this period is shortened to 21 months.
Can the Blue Card become invalid after an extended stay outside the EU?
Blue Card EU holders may stay outside the EU for up to twelve months without the residence permit becoming invalid.
Can Blue Card holders move to another EU country?
Highly qualified persons holding a Blue Card may move to another EU country after a period of 18 months has passed.
Will stays in other EU countries with the Blue Card be counted towards the right of permanent residence?
Stays in different member states of the EU may be cumulated towards the obtainment of the right of permanent residence.
Do visa procedures become necessary in case of migration within the EU?
An application may be filed by the majority of applicants within the country. The application must be filed within a month upon arrival in Germany.