Germany

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    Yes.

     

    Ministerial Order: planned

    Under the planned (but not yet passed) ministerial order, there will be a transition period for the first three months after Brexit; an extension for another six months is planned.

    For the first three months after Brexit date, Germany plans to grant an exemption from the requirement for a residence permit to all British citizens and family members of British citizens living in Germany at the Brexit date as well as British citizens arriving in Germany during the transition period after the Brexit date.

    The transition period will be implemented by ministerial order for an initial three months. An extension for another six months is planned but subject to the consensus of the German Senate (Bundesrat). During the transition period, British citizens would need to apply for a residence status under the third-country nationals’ regime.

    The ministerial order (only for its duration) grants:

    • exemption from the requirements for a residence permit;
    • an option to apply for future residence status while staying in Germany;
    • access to the labour market.

    After the transitional period, the third-country nationals’ regime is applicable, although the privileges outlined below will apply to British citizens (and, in part, their family members).

     

    New s101a Residence Act (‘AufenthG’): draft

    Intended to come into force on the day of a no-deal Brexit.

    British citizens and their family members who fulfil the prerequisites outlined below at the time of a no-deal Brexit will have a claim to a residence/work permit as set out below.

     

    Permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis, s9 AufenthG)

    The British citizen or family member:

    • must be resident in Germany for five years;
    • must fulfil further requirements under s4a FreizügG/EU;
    • will obtain full labour market access.

     

    Temporary residence permit for education, gainful employment or family reunion (chapter 2, subchapters 3, 4, 6 AufenthG)

    The British citizen or family member:

    • must fulfil the requirements for one of the residence permits under chapter 2, subchapters 3, 4, 6 AufenthG;
    • must fulfil further requirements under s2, 3 FreizügG/EU.
    • will obtain full or partial labour market access depending on the residence permit in question.

     

    Temporary residence permit for special purposes (s7 para. 1 sentence 3 AufenthG)

    The British citizen or family member:

    • does not fulfil the requirements for one of the residence permits under the AufenthG;
    • must fulfil further requirements under s2, 3 FreizügG/EU;
    • may or may not obtain labour market access.

     

    Temporary right to stay between residence permit application and the authority’s decision on the application (Fiktionsbescheinigung, s81 para. 4 AufenthG)

    The British citizen or family member:

    • has applied for a residence permit.

     

    Amendment to s26 Employment Regulation (BeschV): passed

     

    Will come into force on the day of a no-deal Brexit.

    British citizens will be privileged with regards to labour market access as set out below.

    • Resident in Germany at date of a no-deal Brexit

    British citizens will not require employment agency’s permission to get a residence permit allowing employment.

    • Starting employment in Germany before 31 December 2019

    British citizens will not require the employment agency’s permission to get a residence permit that allows this employment, even if their employer is domiciled abroad (e.g. on a secondment).

    • Starting employment in Germany between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020 

    British citizens can be granted the employment agency’s permission to get a residence permit which allows this employment, even if their employer is domiciled abroad (e.g. on a secondment).

    • Staying in Germany at the time of a no-deal Brexit under EU freedom of movement

    British citizens will not need the employment agency’s permission to get a residence permit allowing such employment, even if their employer is domiciled abroad (e.g. on a secondment).

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No, Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    However, even if allowed to enter and stay visa-free, UK citizens might need a visa if the activity conducted in Germany is considered employment in Germany rather than a business trip. It is considered a business trip if:

    • The foreign citizen is employed abroad in the commercial or trading sector by an employer domiciled in Germany.
    • The foreign citizen is conducting meetings or negotiations in Germany, preparing contract offers, concluding contracts or supervising the execution of a contract for an employer domiciled abroad.

    The foreign citizen is establishing, monitoring or managing a German part of a corporation for an employer domiciled abroad.

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border if UK citizens will be entitled to visa-free entry?

    Travel documents (a valid passport) with a validity of no more than ten years that is valid for at least three months after departure from Germany.

    Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning the duration and purpose of stay.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?  

    Yes, after expiry of the transitional period. In order to conduct gainful employment or work as a self-employed individual in Germany, a visa or combined residence/work permit (‘Aufenthaltstitel’) permitting this work must be obtained.

    Some combined residence/work permits, such as those for family reunion or permanent residence, include permission to conduct any work in Germany.

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    No.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    Current status:

    • generally, from 1 November 2019 in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 February 2020 if Germany puts in place the planned three-month extendable transition period;
    • from 1 August 2020 if the transition period is extended by another six months with consensus of the German senate (Bundesrat);
    • from 1 January 2021 (for new arrivals) if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    • EU Blue Card:
      • university degree and a job offer in Germany with annual remuneration of at least EUR 53,600;
      • in occupations with employee shortages (e.g. medical doctors, engineers): university degree and a job offer in Germany with annual remuneration of at least EUR 41,808.
    • Combined residence/work permit for purposes of conducting gainful employment (Aufenthaltserlaubnis zum Zweck der Beschäftigung):
      • a job offer in Germany;
      • subject to labour market test (exceptions apply, e.g. if the foreign citizen has already been working in Germany for two years)
      • from 1 March 2019: a job offer in a skilled job plus recognised university degree or vocational education matching this offer; no labour market test required.

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    • Appointment waiting time: The foreign citizen must apply in person:
      • for a visa at a German embassy or consulate; or
      • for a combined residence/work permit at the Foreigners Office in Germany.

    Appointments are often mandatory although sometimes a drop-in service is available. Waiting times for an appointment vary widely depending on the location.

    • If no labour market test is required, the combined residence/work permit will be granted immediately (e.g. Blue Card EU with minimum EUR 53,600.00 remuneration). If a labour market test is required, a processing time of one to eight weeks is to be expected.

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?

    EUR 56 - EUR 147 for the issue of a national visa or combined residence/work permit (exceptions apply).

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    Five years of legal stay in Germany (subject to conditions). This is shortened to 33 months if the foreign citizen holds an EU Blue Card and 21 months if he or she also speaks B1-level German. Extremely highly qualified foreign citizens (e.g. university professors) may obtain it immediately.

    British citizens and their family members who were resident in Germany for five years at the time of a no-deal Brexit and fulfil further requirements under s4a FreizügG/EU may obtain it immediately.

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    During the transitional period under the ministerial order:

    • applying for a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis or Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt EU) (if applicable);
    • applying for a temporary residence permit for the purpose of education, employment or family reunion (if applicable);
    • applying for a temporary residence permit for special purposes (if applicable);
    • applying for German nationality if conditions are met, but individuals should consider consequences before doing so.
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