Germany is a hot spot immigration destination for people across the world! It has a great economy and thus, also has third largest population of immigrants in the world.

The IT sector of Germany is highly developed and witnesses shortage of IT professionals. About twenty-five percent of IT posts suffer from the shortage of staff, says the German Information Technology Association. Occupations that are affected by shortage of skilled staff include natural scientists- biologists, chemists, physicists-, engineers, professors and scientific personnel in high-tech arenas.

Unskilled workers may find it difficult to obtain work permit. However, highly skilled workers usually get work and residence permit easily.

Major Routes to Enter Germany

An immigrant can enter Germany as a :
Highly skilled worker
Self-employed immigrant

Permanent Residence Scheme
As per the new German Immigration Act, which became active on 1 January 2005, highly skilled immigrants can be granted Permanent German Work and Residence Permit from the beginning only. In order to acquire German residence and work permit, the applicants are supposed to report at the German Consulate or German Embassy in their home country. Highly professional immigrants only need a prior job offer from a German employer and permission granted by the German Employment Agency.

During their stay as visitors in Germany, nationals of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland can apply and obtain residence and work permit. Citizens of mentioned countries cannot work in Germany till they acquire both residence and work permit.

Qualifications or Eligibility Criterion for Obtaining Permanent Residence Permit
The employee and the German company must meet the following requirements:
The immigrant must be hired on equal terms as a German employee by his German employer
It should be ensured beforehand that no German or other European citizen is available to fill the vacancy in question
The immigrant should have a valid and relevant university degree or comparable qualification
The German company must be appropriately registered with the Labor Authorities in Germany and should apply for a Corporate Registration Number

Under the new German Immigration Act, the immigrant has to go through following levels :
Level1 : The application for residence permit is submitted by the applicant with the German Embassy in his home town. The application is received by the German authorities. This provides him entry into the labor market of Germany.

Level 2 : For initial approval, the application is passed on to the immigration office, the Auslaenderbehoerde, (at the place of job) by the Embassy. The immigration office and the local employment office (the Arbeitsamt) decide to approve or disapprove the application.

Level 3 : The Embassy grants an entry visa to the applicant whose application has been approved.

Level 4 : After reaching Germany, the immigrant and his family members must apply and obtain work and residence permits from the Local Foreigners Authority.

Investment and Self-Employment Visas

If the immigrant has a minimum amount of one million Euro to invest in German economy and create ten fresh German jobs, he automatically becomes eligible to apply under this plan. Investment and Self-Employment Visa gives various benefits to the immigrant/investor such as :

Irrespective of the type of company the immigrant is establishing, he can enjoy same rights as enjoyed by the German citizens It is not mandatory to have a German associate or guarantor

Three years past running the company successfully in Germany, an Unlimited Residence Permit is issued to the immigrant and his family

Study Visa
Germany is a great place to pursue higher studies at low cost. German Bachelor's and Master's degrees are globally recognized. A foreign student is allowed to reside in Germany for a maximum period of nine months. Foreign students can work for a period of up to 90 days or 180 half days in a year. They must have good German Language skills.

After acquiring the Graduation degree, foreign students can work in the field related to their study for up to one year.

The procedure for acquiring study visa includes following levels :

Level 1 : Take admission in a recognized German university
Level 2 : Apply for a student visa. Submit application for the same with the German Embassy in home country. Documents verifying consent of admission in a German university must also be submitted.
Level 3 : The visa application is forwarded by the German Embassy to the foreigners' authority in the city of the university
Level 4 : If the foreigners' authority approves the application, the German Embassy gives visa to the student

Scheme for Children and Spouses
Few people like those who are married to a German national can work even without a work permit. An immigrant who holds a German work and residence permit for himself can easily obtain the same for his wife and children also.

In Germany, same-sex couples can get married. In such case, the foreign partner also enjoys the same rights as exercised by his spouse staying in Germany.

Germany Van Der Elst Visas
Under the 'Van der Elst' scheme, Germany lets non-EEA employees (those who have been employed for more than 12 months in an EEA country) to come to Germany without taking any additional work permits. Such immigrants should only apply for a van der Elst visa.

Working Holiday Makers
Germany has Working Holiday Visas’ agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Working Holiday Maker program allows young people aged between 18 and 30 to come to Germany for a working holiday. Under this plan, they are permitted to stay in Germany for 12 months. Such visitors can take up holiday jobs to support themselves financially. However, in each job they can work only for 90 days. Working Holiday Visa can be obtained through local German Embassy.