Attracting foreign skilled workers – what Bavarian companies need to bear in mind
Bavaria attracts numerous companies from all over the world, not least because of its central location in Europe, its well-developed infrastructure and its distinctive B2B environment. As a result, the number of skilled workers recruited from abroad is also increasing. You can read about what to consider when appointing foreign workers in this blog post.
How does the integration of skilled workers from abroad work?
Bavaria offers many career opportunities for skilled workers from abroad, as the Free State has a strong, diversified economy. Many IT experts, for example, are continuing their careers in Bavaria, as the digital transformation has a particularly strong influence there and the demand for qualified personnel is correspondingly high. When recruiting and integrating skilled workers from abroad, companies must observe the following regulations, depending on the country of origin of potential applicants:
- Citizens from the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland: Complete freedom, do not need a residence permit and can choose their place of residence and work.
- Citizens from Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, USA: Do not need a visa to enter the country and have 90 days to deal with their visa matters. The Schengen visa allows them to travel to Germany without any problems, but they must obtain a residence permit before starting employment.
- Citizens from other states: A pre-entry visa is required for candidates from other countries.
Companies should also note that the bureaucratic processes behind obtaining a visa and other necessary permits and documents take time. Alternatively, employers can rely on the fast-track procedure for skilled workers, which allows them to speed up the process for the efficient integration of skilled workers from third-party states.
The fast-track procedure for skilled workers: Integrating qualified applicants into Bavaria efficiently
The Zentrale Stelle für die Einwanderung von Fachkräften [Central Office for the Immigration of Skilled Workers] supports Bavarian companies in carrying out the accelerated procedure for skilled workers in accordance with Article 81a AufenthG [German Residence Act]. It involves several steps:
1. Employer authorisation: The applicant from abroad issues a power of attorney for the future employer. In addition, the potential professional sends other required documents, such as a copy of the passport and qualification certificates.
2. Agreements between the employer and the immigration authorities [Ausländerbehörde]: The authority provides the company with information on the next steps for integration and the formal obligations of the parties involved. After paying a processing fee of 411 euros, the employer submits all the requested documents to the authority.
3. Recognition of foreign qualifications: The authority forwards the professional qualification documents to appropriate examiners. If evidence is missing, the employer will be informed and must pass this on to the candidate. After two months at the latest, the competent body shall decide whether the qualifications are to be recognised.
4. Federal Employment Agency [Bundesagentur für Arbeit] approval procedure: The Federal Employment Agency must conduct a labour market review in which it checks the foreign skilled worker’s employment conditions. The process takes one week – if the agency does not respond within one week, the fast-track procedure is considered approved.
5. Preliminary approval for granting of visas: If the requirements are met, the Foreigners’ Authority issues its preliminary approval. It hands this over to the employer, who then forwards it to the worker abroad.
6. Visa application at the German representation abroad: The skilled worker books an appointment with the German representation abroad in the applicant’s country, which must take place within three weeks. The preliminary approval must be submitted in addition to the certificates of competence. A decision is usually made on the granting of a visa within the following three weeks.
The key to success: the long-term integration of foreign skilled workers
Once an expert from abroad has successfully applied for a job in Bavaria and been granted a visa, the next step is to look for housing in Bavaria. This not only costs time, but also a lot of effort straight after arriving, resulting in the worker possibly not being able to fully develop their potential at the new workplace.
For this reason, there are agencies for skilled workers from abroad in the form of relocation services, which provide support in the search for housing in Bavaria. They specialise in topics such as immigration and naturalisation and use a broad network to help people who have recently arrived from abroad to settle into their new living conditions. In addition, they provide support in finding one’s way around the new place of residence, offer intercultural training and look for suitable schools and kindergartens for immigrant families.
FKS+ initiative for securing skilled workers – contact person in each administrative district
There are also other contact points that help recruit foreign skilled workers. For example, the Vereinigung der Bayerischen Wirtschaft [Bavarian Industry Association] in cooperation with the Bayerischen Metall- und Elektroarbeitgeberverband bayme vbm [Bavarian Employers’ Associations for the Metalworking and Electrical Industries] and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs founded the FKS+ initiative for securing skilled workers with a dedicated task force that supports the integration of international skilled workers throughout Bavaria with its wide range of services. There is a direct contact person for each of Bavaria’s seven administrative districts.