Immigration law and legal relocation

Our law firm has many years of experience in immigration law and legal relocation. In particular, foreign companies and their skilled workers from abroad trust us when it comes to the basis of their work and their stay in Germany - namely the residence permit (permission of stay). Because Germany is an important market for globally operating companies.

  • Company employees from the headquarters located abroad are sent to the German sales office or research department. There is a continuous exchange of personnel between the individual national companies, so that the necessary residence permit must be available for these workers.
  • Specialists are also recruited from abroad in order to cover the corresponding HR requirements in Germany.
  • When setting up German subsidiaries, the application for a residence permit for the managing directors and other key positions may have to be planned from the outset

These are just a few examples where we work for our clients in immigration law.

The German Residence Act

The German Residence Act is a federal law and therefore applies throughout Germany.

However, the duration and ultimately also the chances of success of a residence procedure vary greatly from region to region.

We have carried out residency procedures & applications in numerous municipalities and cities and incorporate this experience into our advice. Together with our clients, we develop a complete profile on the basis of which we can identify the best possible right of residence and then apply for it.

The right documentation

The immigration authorities initially only get to know the applicant through documents.

All the more important is the precise and complete documentation of all necessary information and documents in order to convey a correct picture. This starts with the curriculum vitae, which can vary from country to country and is linked to certain requirements in Germany, and continues to specific qualifications that must be proven by certificates or other types of evidence.

Applicants with an academic background in particular must prove when submitting their application (including Blue Card applications) that the foreign university degree is comparable to a domestic university degree – i.e. the foreign university degree must be recognized & approved before the actual application is submitted.

Companies that recruit skilled workers (Fachkräfte) from abroad must be able to prove exactly which position is to be filled and what requirements the skilled worker must have - this must also be documented and explained in detail to the immigration authorities.

Specialists - Qualified professionals

The German residence law favors the integration of foreign skilled workers (Fachkräfte). The German law understands foreign skilled workers as a security for the domestic economy and a strengthening of the social security systems. The sustainable integration of skilled workers into the labor market and society, taking into account the interests of public security, is therefore a clearly formulated goal of German residence law.

A foreigner is regarded as a skilled worker if he

  1. has qualified domestic vocational training (Berufsausbildung) or a foreign professional qualification that is equivalent to qualified domestic vocational training or
  2. has a German university degree, a recognized foreign university degree or a foreign university degree comparable to a German university degree (skilled worker with academic training).

The decisive factor is therefore the comparability of a degree obtained abroad with a domestic degree - the foreign degree must be or be recognized here.

We carry out the recognition procedure before the competent authorities for our clients.

Self-employed business

In the case of residence law procedures for the self-employed, there are two essential criteria that must be included in the processing from the outset. First, it must be considered

which municipality the applicant plans to reside. Because the locally responsible immigration office is (only) based on the place of residence, not the place of self-employment.

There are major regional differences in how residence applications are processed.

On one hand, this is due to the legal regulation for self-employed persons in the Residence Act, according to which “economic interest” or “regional needs” are used as criteria for the approval of self-employment.

On the other hand, our experience shows that, regardless of these criteria, there are municipalities or cities in which the immigration authorities are well organized and foreign self-employed people are "welcome". But there are also cities and communities that are poorly organized and have an old-fashioned, outdated understanding of foreign self-employed and entrepreneurs.

And second the applicant must

draft & present a business plan, which contains a viable and sustainably successful business concept

This business plan is the basis for a successful application by a future self-employed person. In addition to the immigration office, the local business development office and the chamber of industry and commerce are also involved in residence applications for the self-employed or entrepreneurs. The immigration office will only agree to a residence as a self-employed person if both agree.

The business plan is also checked as part of a renewal of the right of residence. It is checked whether the business development forecast in the business plan actually occurred. Business plans should therefore be designed professionally and at the same time realistically.

There are numerous other papers and documentation that we submit to the authorities after thorough consultation. Our aim is to submit a complete and professionally compiled application folder to the immigration authorities, which does not require any further inquiries or queries.

Permanent residence permit - Niederlassungserlaubnis

The Permanent residence permit represents the "highest level" of the right of residence in Germany. If a foreigner receives the Permanent residence permit, his/her residence is unlimited - he can pursue any activity as an employee or self-employed, he can study (again) or simply not work at all and read the newspaper all day read.

This means that every residence before receiving the Permanent residence permit is limited to a specific purpose. If a foreigner receives a residence permit as a student, he is not allowed to work as an engineer in Audi's development department at the same time. If a foreigner has a residence permit as a Service Field Engineer at Hitachi Metals Europe, he has to submit an application to change the residence permit before he changes his position and starts working at, let's say, Huawai. Any change in activity must be reported to the immigration authorities. Failure to report can mean high fines for the employer, in the worst case the foreigner can be expelled.

We advise clients on applying for a settlement permit and on checking whether one can be applied for or whether the requirements are met.