Germany eases residency rules for skilled workers


Berlin, Dec 3

The German Bundestag, or lower house of Parliament, has adopted a new law that will enable foreigners with a short-term "tolerated stay" permit to obtain a permanent residence permit.

A "tolerated stay" permit is issued to individuals who are, in principle, obliged to leave the country, but their departure is temporarily not feasible, reports Xinhua news agency.

People who have been living in Germany for at least five years and hold a "tolerated stay" or temporary residence permit will now be granted an 18-month "opportunity right of residence".

During this period, they can submit evidence for the permanent right of residence.

"We want people who are already well integrated to have a fair chance of staying," Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser said in a statement on Friday.

Young people up to the age of 27 are to be granted an 18-month permit with the chance to obtain permanent residence after just three years.

Criminals, as well as persons who prevent their deportation by false statements or active identity deception, are to be excluded.

Also, on Friday, the Bundestag decided to speed up asylum procedures.

Both parliamentary decisions are part of a comprehensive reform that will create the "most modern immigration law in Europe", according to the government.

Europe's largest economy has an ageing population and a severe shortage of skilled workers.

To attract more workers from abroad, income thresholds for the Blue Card for work migration are to be lowered.

In addition, a so-called opportunity card for people with high potential is to be introduced.

"In the competition for talent and helping hands, we are offering new, and above all easier, ways to work in Germany," Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil said on Wednesday when he presented the plans.

The shortage of skilled workers should not become a "permanent brake on growth", he stressed.


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