Germany: Labour market rules relaxed for Western Balkan nationals

On or after January 1, 2016, nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia with a job offer in Germany will be able to obtain a D-visa (long-term visa) as long as the applicant meets the position’s experience requirements.  This new exemption will be in effect until 2020.

Balkan nationals must currently meet stricter qualifications to be able to work in Germany.

Application Process

Key points about the application process for this type of work permit include:

  • The job offer can be either a local employment contract or an assignment agreement;
  • D-visa applications can be filed at a German consular post in the applicant’s country of residence for any type of employment;
  • Approval from the Federal Employment Agency will be required for the application and such approval requests will be expedited;
  • Employers will still have to comply with salary and work condition requirements that are comparable to those of domestic employees; and
  • The Federal Employment Agency can require a labour market test to determine whether a German/EU-national would be eligible for the vacant position.

Nationals who received benefits in Germany under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act in the 24 months preceding their application are not eligible for the new exemption.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers intending to hire lesser-qualified foreign nationals can now consider applicants from the Western Balkan region.

Employers with questions on the new policy should contact their immigration professional for details.