Das Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz

Long visa waiting times for skilled workers at German embassies

PROGEDO – your first friend abroad. For us this is not just a statement but a commitment! That is why we regularly inform our customers about current events and happenings that we consider particularly important for them.

If a company intends to hire a qualified professional (“Fachkraft”) living outside Germany who requires a visa, there is no way of avoiding the German embassies and consulates in the respective country where the prospective new employee currently resides.* Unfortunately though, these first points of contact are operating hopelessly beyond capacity in many countries: People can expect to wait three months for an appointment in India, six months in Pakistan or the Philippines, and a whole nine months in Cameroon or the Western Balkans. In some countries, it can take as long as twelve months before you get to hand in your application documents. That is, if you manage to get an appointment at all – as that’s purely a matter of luck. Only those who constantly check the pages of the respective consular post are in with a chance of securing an appointment by chance. Or those who make use of the now numerous “agencies” in the respective countries that promise to arrange an earlier appointment for a fee. In some countries you cannot even book an appointment directly. You have to be placed on a waiting list first.

What conclusions should you draw from this as a German company looking to hire a skilled worker from abroad?

1. If in any doubt, plan in a very long lead-up period between the application phase and the chosen candidate’s actual first day at work. Depending on the country in question, your new employee will have to wait anything between 3 and 15 months before they receive their work permit.

2. Make sure you provide your chosen candidate with as much support as possible when it comes to compiling all the necessary documents. Nothing would be more annoying than having to go to the German embassy with incomplete or incorrectly filled out documents.

3. You can also assist them when reviewing whether or not their foreign qualifications are officially recognized in Germany. You can find more information about this here: https://anabin.kmk.org/anabin.html 

4. Consider whether it might make sense to call in a professional agency like PROGEDO. For 25 years now, we have been offering support and advisory services to companies on how to apply for visas for employment purposes. Should legal advice be required, we work together with specialist lawyers. Whether individual cases involve blue cards, international personnel exchanges or secondments, we provide quick and effective assistance. As even after entry there can be further challenges ahead, such as for those who intend to take their visa to the immigration office responsible for their new place of residence to apply for a residence permit in the form of an ID card. This is required after 3-6 months at the latest (depending on what the German embassy has entered in the visa), as the visa then becomes invalid after this date.** Many of these authorities are in a similar situation to embassies and consulates –due to the increased demand and lack of staff they hardly have any appointment vacancies. The effort involved can be considerable before the eAT (electronic residence permit) is finally issued. We will relieve you of these issues and are always happy to assist your employees – with all their upcoming administrative visits to the authorities both before and after entry, including the search for a place to live. Please feel free to contact us here and we’ll be glad to provide you with further assistance.

*Exceptions exist for the privileged citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA, who are permitted to enter without a visa. In most cases, they can obtain a so-called fictional certificate (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) after entering the country from the respective authority responsible for them and will then be entitled to work with this document with immediate effect. But those entering the country also have to face with the problem of the overburdened authorities in Germany. Depending on where they wish to live in future, we therefore recommend that that people falling into this category also apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate in their country of origin, meaning then will be able to start work immediately after entry.

**If necessary, however, it is possible to have a fictional certificate issued for another three months.