New Skilled Worker Law: Easier Family Reunification for Foreigners Migrating to Germany
Germany recently passed the Skilled Worker Immigration Act, which marks a significant reform in the country’s immigration law. This wide-reaching legislation aims to simplify the process and provide greater opportunities for skilled workers to relocating to Germany. Among the key changes is the liberalization of family reunification, allowing foreigners not only to reunite with their spouses and children but also with their parents and step-parents. Let’s delve into the details of this groundbreaking reform.
Expanded Family Reunification:
The new Skilled Worker Immigration Act introduces several changes to facilitate family reunification for foreign workers in Germany. Previously, certain residence permit holders could bring their spouse or registered partner, as well as their underage or dependent children. However, the recent amendments now broaden the scope to include parents and parents-in-law.
Inclusion of Parents and Parents-in-law: Skilled workers will be able to bring their parents and parents-in-law alongside their spouses and children under 18.
Removal of Housing Requirements: The need to prove sufficient housing space for the family will no longer be mandatory for skilled workers.
Streamlined Application Process: The application process for family reunification is expected to become more efficient and simplified.
Expedited Reunification Permits: For individuals holding specific types of EU-wide residence permits, the process of obtaining reunification permits will be expedited.
Alignment with EU Immigration Law:
These changes bring German law closer to EU immigration regulations, enabling reunification with parents from non-EU countries when they are dependent on their child for support due to illness or disability. It is important to note that the new German law does not currently impose these conditions for reunification applications.
Eligibility for Family Reunification:
Under the original Skilled Workers Immigration Act, skilled workers can bring their relatives to join them in Germany if they possess one of the following permits:
EU Blue Card, Mobile Inter-corporate Transferee (ICT) Card, or EU Permanent Residence Card.
German residence permit or permanent residence permit.
Starting from March 1st, 2024, individuals who wish to bring their parents or parents-in-law to relocating to Germany must have entered the country on a residence permit.
Conditions for Application:
Although there are variations based on nationality, the main prerequisite for family reunification is proving the ability to support the relatives joining in Germany. Currently, this includes demonstrating sufficient salary and living space for the spouse, children, and parents. However, the Interior Ministry has confirmed that future requirements will relax the need to prove adequate living space for spouses and underage children.
To apply for family reunification, relatives must currently submit a family reunification visa application at their local consulate or embassy in their home country. They must complete an application form, provide necessary documents such as passports, marriage certificates, and proof of language skills (if applicable), and include a copy of the partner’s residence permit, as well as evidence of sufficient income and living space. After receiving the visa, family members can travel to Germany and register as residents at their local Bürgeramt.
Streamlining and Speeding up Reunification:
While the exact ease of the process remains uncertain, the latest version of the Skilled Worker Immigration Act suggests certain deadlines for issuing visas for family members of foreigners with specific types of visas. Individuals applying for an EU permit, such as a Blue Card, ICT Card, or Mobile ICT Card, can submit the application for their family members simultaneously with their own visa application, and both applications must be decided on at the same time.
The recent reforms introduced by the Skilled Worker Immigration Act in Germany signify a significant step towards facilitating family reunification for skilled workers. With expanded eligibility and simplified processes, these changes aim to attract and retain skilled professionals from around the world. By aligning German law with EU immigration regulations, the country is taking strides toward harmonizing immigration policies and promoting family unity for those seeking new opportunities in Germany. The Skilled Worker Immigration Act provides a more straightforward and streamlined process for relocating to Germany to bring their families with them and start a new life together.