The German parliament on Friday, June 23, passed legislation to open up new opportunities for job seekers from countries outside the EU and for many refugees who are already in the country.
DW reported that the new immigration law reform is designed to encourage more people from outside the European Union to come to Germany for work.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) noted that the new law would secure prosperity in Germany and would only work if the bureaucratic hurdles were dismantled during its implementation.
“This draft law secures prosperity in Germany. It’s unacceptable that you have to fill in 17 different applications to bring a new care worker into the country.”
Some of Germany’s opposition party welcomed some of the government’s ideas, though they criticized plans to lower the qualification hurdles for foreign workers.
While some opposition parties claimed that plans to lower the level of German language skills necessary would only encourage low-skilled workers, others argued that it would turn Germany into a “junk country”.
A major new innovation under the law is a new “opportunity card” and its associated points system, which allows foreigners who don’t yet have a job lined up to come to Germany for a year to find employment. A prerequisite for receiving a card will be a vocational qualification or university degree.
The cards will be awarded to those who fulfill a certain number of conditions, for which they will be awarded points: These could be German and/or English language skills, existing ties to Germany, and the potential of accompanying life partners or spouses on the German labor market.
The opportunity card will also permit casual work for up to 20 hours a week while looking for a qualified job, as well as probationary employment.
A similar change holds for those on tourist visa. They will not be required to first leave the country before returning in an employment context.
In the future, skilled immigrants will no longer have to have their degrees recognized in Germany if they can show they have at least two years of professional experience and a degree that is state-recognized in their country of origin. Someone who already has a job offer can already come to Germany and start working while their degree is still being recognized.