Germany’s New Immigration Law
The planned new immigration law will increase Germany's attractiveness for international students.
A new immigration law has been under discussion in German politics for almost 20 years. Angela Merkel's fourth government now wants to pass a new law before Christmas.
At the heart of the draft is the abolition of the priority examination clause which foresees that German job applicants are given preference over foreign applicants with equal qualifications. Furthermore, professionally qualified persons will be able to enter the country for a limited period of time to look for a job. This is already the case for university graduates.
There is a genuine need for action, as the ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers is hampering Germany’s economic growth. According to estimates of the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), annual economic output would be EUR 30 billion higher if personnel shortages were eliminated (Handelsblatt, 16.08.2018). The demographic situation is accelerating this effect as German society is aging. Pension funds are under more and more pressure as expenditures are rising.
The law is primarily intended to enable professionally qualified persons to enter Germany and search for a job. Germany already offers very liberal immigration opportunities for university graduates. Accordingly, graduates who have obtained a university degree in Germany (e.g. Bachelor’s, Master’s, MBA or PhD) can obtain a so-called Job Seeker Visa after graduation which is valid for 18 months. The possibility of receiving a residence permit for a maximum of 18 months after successful completion of studies to find a job makes Germany particularly attractive for international students.
Graduates may also apply for the EU's Blue Card for highly qualified persons under certain conditions. In addition, foreign academics are allowed to stay in Germany for six months to look for a job if their livelihood is secured.
Sought-after IT experts or specialists in professions experiencing shortages, such as nursing, would also be allowed to work in Germany without a formal degree if they have a job offer and proven practical professional experience. In general, migrant workers are required to have sufficient German language skills for the desired occupation.
Pursuing tertiary education makes integration easier (see: Diversity Training Programme of SRH Hochschule Berlin) and is a key factor for employment. The unemployment rate among academics is low.
Germany is the most popular study destination among non-English-speaking countries worldwide, ranking first in Europe. The wide range of courses in English offered by German universities, the great economic situation of the country and the liberal immigration opportunities for students make Germany a particularly popular study destination for students of many countries. Traditionally, many young people from India, China, Turkey or Russia come to Germany to study.
The three SRH universities in Berlin offer an interesting range of courses (e.g.: the M.Sc. in Computer Science - Cyber Security at SRH Hochschule Berlin or the B.A. in Web Development at design akademie berlin, SRH Hochschule für Kommunikation und Design). All foreign students also receive German courses at different levels.
Within Germany, the biggest cities attract the most international applicants. As a result, Berlin is one of the most popular study locations in Europe. The close to 200,000 students of Berlin make Berlin not only a multicultural city but this group also contributes to the city's economic success. The German capital is considered a start-up Mecca and offers great opportunities for young entrepreneurs. SRH Hochschule Berlin offers the M.A. in Entrepreneurship programme to contribute to this effect. The SRH Start-up Lab Berlin is home to many successful founders who have studied at the three SRH universities in Berlin.