These are the changes for foreign skilled professionals

New provisions under the Skilled Immigration Act came into effect on 1 March 2024. They provide for simplifications for international students, apprentices and skilled professionals.

In order to tackle the challenges of the skills shortage, domestic potential must be leveraged and the level of skilled immigration must be increased.

With the Skilled Labour Strategy and the Skilled Immigration Act, we in the Federal Government have laid the foundation for this and have made access to the German labour market easier,

Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark‑Watzinger

As of 1 March 2024, new rules apply for people from non‑European Union (EU) countries who are coming to Germany seeking the recognition of their qualifications and for students and apprentices. For example, skilled professionals with qualifications and work experience can now enter Germany and work here without having completed a prior recognition procedure.

Recognition partnerships

For regulated professions, for example in the healthcare sector, a formal recognition of professional qualifications is required before taking up employment. For other professions, recognition might be helpful. Skilled professionals in countries outside the EU can now partner with employers to launch the recognition procedure upon arrival in Germany. This is called a recognition partnership.

In this way, foreign skilled professionals can start to work in Germany sooner. The prospective employee and employer undertake to start, complete and support the recognition procedure once the foreign professional has entered Germany.

The minimum requirements for a recognition partnership are two years of training or a university degree as well as German language skills (proficiency level A2). Further simplifications with regard to residence regulations in the context of measures aimed at the recognition of foreign professional qualifications include the relaxation of rules for second jobs and the extension of the maximum length of stay to up to three years.

Decoupling recognition and immigration

In the past, it was often necessary to get the formal recognition of professional qualifications to be able to immigrate to Germany, even when the person in question wanted to work in a non‑regulated profession.

As of 1 March 2024, persons with work experience in a non‑regulated profession can now enter Germany and take up employment without having to seek formal recognition.

These professions include, for example, all dual training occupations. All that is needed is evidence of professional or university qualifications that meets specific requirements. Employers, in turn, must provide a concrete job offer and a certain minimum level of pay.

Strengthened educational migration

As of 1 March 2024, simplifications also apply to international students and apprentices. The rules concerning side jobs for students and apprentices will be expanded from ten to 20 hours a week. This also applies to persons coming to Germany to look for a place in vocational training or higher education, take part in a language course or participate in preparatory measures for prospective university students.

The new rules provide for flexibility, enable people to earn a living, and facilitate the transition to the labour market. This increases the attractiveness of Germany as a destination for those starting training or a university course and for those staying on as skilled professionals after completing their programmes.

Furthermore, the new provisions under the Skilled Immigration Act also include rules to ease access to the labour market for

  • IT specialists,
  • nursing aides and assistants,
  • business founders receiving a business start-up grant (Gründerstipendium), and
  • foreign short­term employees for a maximum of eight months.


More information on this topic is available here:

Make it in Germany: The new Skilled Immigration Act at a glance

Source: Federal Ministry of Education and Research,, 01.03.2024