Purpose and target group

German employers are . IT and technology, medical care, contractor fields, technology and logistics are among the hardest hit sectors.

The reworked Skilled Immigration Act, which Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, passed in the summer, aims to quickly lower the barriers to immigration of skilled workers from countries outside the European Union.

The first changes take effect starting November 18, 2023. The new rules will come into force in three stages. Details, available in German, English, French and Spanish, are available on the goverment website.

Immigration Germany / Die Blaue Karte EU

If you live outside the EU, you will generally require a visa for the purpose of gainful employment which will be issued by the competent German diplomatic mission. You can enter Germany on this visa. Prior to expiry of the visa, you must subsequently apply to the local immigration authority for the EU Blue Card.

The following exceptions apply:

  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America may enter Germany without requiring a visa, and must subsequently apply for the EU Blue Card at the immigration authority that is responsible for the place where they live within three months. They may take up employment once the EU Blue Card has been issued.

  • Individuals who have held an EU Blue Card in another EU Member State for at least 12 months may enter Germany without requiring a visa. They have to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany at the immigration authority that is responsible for the place where they live within one month of entering the country.

  • Individuals who are already living in Germany and hold another residence title may file an application for the EU Blue Card with the immigration authority competent for their place of residence.

Benefits of the residence title

With immediate effect, more academic and similarly qualified workers from third countries will be able to come to Germany on the EU Blue Card without German language requirements.

Annual salary limits, in place to prevent wage dumping, will be lowered to just under €40,000 ( USD 43,500) for entry-level and in-demand jobs, known as "bottleneck occupations"; the cut-off for all other occupations will be set at €44,000, as of 2023.

Such occupations now include educators and nurses.

In the IT sector, skilled workers without a university degree can also receive an EU Blue Card if they can prove that they have at least three years of relevant professional experience. Nursing assistants with less than three years of nursing training are also to be granted access to the German labor market.

The Blue Card is the EU's answer to the Green Card in the United States. In Germany, it has been in place for a decade. With the lower income requirement, it will now be easier to get. Once in Germany, workers will also have more flexibility in changing careers, although regulated professions — such as law and medicine — will still require the necessary qualifications.