Hurdles for Skilled Immigration Reduced – New Regulations Take Effect in August

In an effort to streamline the process for skilled workers from abroad to work in Germany, the government has announced new measures to facilitate their employment. These new regulations will enable foreign professionals to work in the country more quickly and with reduced bureaucracy. Additionally, several other legislative changes will take effect in August 2023.

Faster and More Efficient Immigration for Skilled Workers

Under the new Skilled Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz), foreign professionals with at least two years of work experience and a state-recognized professional qualification obtained abroad will be eligible to work in Germany. The qualification will no longer need prior recognition in Germany, significantly reducing bureaucratic hurdles and expediting the application process. Moreover, the salary threshold for the Blue Card, a permit for highly skilled non-EU nationals, will be lowered. Additionally, a new points-based “Chance Card” will be introduced to attract skilled workers based on specific criteria.

Ersatzfreiheitsstrafe Halved for Monetary Penalties

In an effort to improve the justice system, the duration of Ersatzfreiheitsstrafe (substitute imprisonment) for those unable or unwilling to pay monetary penalties will be halved. Individuals facing such penalties will also be informed about the option to carry out social work instead of serving time in jail, fostering a more rehabilitative approach to justice.

Uniform Regulation for Private Foundations

Private foundations in Germany will experience more legal clarity and efficiency as the regulation of foundation civil law (Stiftungszivilrecht) will be uniformly standardized across federal and state levels. This change aims to enable private foundations to focus more effectively on their core purposes.

Digitalization in Construction and Building

A new digitalization amendment to the Building Code (Baugesetzbuch) will introduce online publication of building development plans (Bauleitpläne) and simplify approval procedures for construction projects. Furthermore, the amendment will facilitate faster post-disaster reconstruction and expedite the construction of refugee accommodations.

Enhancing the Supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

To strengthen the supply of liquified natural gas (LNG) at German coastal sites, additional amendments to the LNG Acceleration Act (LNG-Beschleunigungsgesetz) have been introduced. The changes will facilitate the approval and accelerated construction of connection and long-distance pipelines for the transport of LNG. Additionally, the port of Mukran on the island of Rügen has been included as an LNG site in the legislation.

Recycling and Soil Protection

Addressing the significant amount of construction and demolition waste generated annually in Germany (approximately 240 million tonnes), several coordinated regulations, starting from August 1, 2023, will focus on recycling these materials and sustainably securing soil and groundwater.

Improved Drug Supply and Tobacco Regulation

To ensure a stable supply of essential medications, new legislation will relax pricing rules for pediatric drugs and prioritize European producers for antibiotic manufacturing. In addition, the prohibition of characteristic flavors and aromas in tobacco products will extend to tobacco heaters. Manufacturers will be required to display text-image warning labels and information messages on packaging.

Promoting Employee Education during Short-Time Work

To encourage employee development during short-time work (Kurzarbeit), employers will continue to receive subsidies for training costs until July 31, 2024. Furthermore, during this period, half of the social security contributions will be reimbursed.

These changes are set to make significant contributions to various sectors in Germany, from workforce diversification to legal clarity and environmental conservation. The government aims to foster a more inclusive, efficient, and sustainable future for the country.