Measures to relieve the immigration authorities
Current information, instructions and recommendations for action from the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) from March 25th, 2020 to the federal states on how to deal with third-country nationals in times of Corona
PROGEDO – the first friend abroad. This statement obliges! That is why we regularly inform our customers about current events which we consider particularly important for them.
Because of the corona virus, the German authorities have had massive restrictions for weeks. However, a general standardized procedure cannot be seen. Each federal state handles this differently. In some cases, you can even see a different approach in the cities / districts of individual federal states.
A burning question of many expats from third countries living in Germany is, of course, how they should behave if they have a residence permit for work-purposes, which is about to expire and needs to be extended. There is an official statement from the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) dated on March 25th 2020 which states, that residence permits that are about to expire or have expired already, are still valid and thus have the effect of fiction (fiction effect of § 81 (4) AufenthG) when an application for an extension has been handed in. This application can also be made informally, i.e. by telephone, online, by email or post. In other words, workers can continue to be employed until the immigration office gives out an appointment and then makes a decision. The relatives living in Germany only have to renew their residence permits accordingly, after the final decision has been made by the foreigners department.
Carrying evidence with you cannot hurt controls. However, if this is not possible, we recommend printing out and showing the official letter from the BMI (especially pages 1-2). You can download it here (PDF, german).
This letter also lists other recommendations and instructions to the competent authorities in the federal states:
- Tolerance of a third country national who is actually obliged to leave due to the expiry of the purpose (e.g. due to a terminated employment relationship) if the exit is actually impossible.
- No impact of the receipt of short-time working money („Kurzarbeitergeld,“ KuG) on the existence of a residence permit, although the use of public funds generally precludes the issue of a residence permit. This also applies if the KuG is paid due to the Corona virus and is below the respective salary limits for Blue Card EU holders or IT specialists.
- Foreigners with a residence permit, who are currently abroad and unable to return to Germany within the six-month period pursuant to § 51 (1) No. 7 AufenthG, will be granted an extension due to the canceled flight connections. Currently, this can also be done through a general order from the foreigners department, but as a precaution it should be inquired by emailing the responsible immigration office.
- Schengen visas are extended generously, but the fictional effect of § 81 (4) of the AufenthG does not apply here. There will probably be a legal ordinance shortly to exempt holders of expired Schengen visas from the requirement of a residence permit for a limited period after the visa has expired. Until then, the following applies: Where possible, a personal interview is necessary; to simplify the application, the departure period can be requested in advance by email. The authorities can then also reply by email or in writing, stating the newly set departure date. Please refer to the relevant homepage of the responsible authority for information on how to proceed.
- Anyone who was able to enter Germany without a visa for the start of work must continue to report to the relevant immigration office before starting to work. The authorities are encouraged to give this group of people preferential treatment and to make an appointment. No work is allowed without submitting an application!
- Erste Priorität bei der Bearbeitung von beschleunigten Fachkräfteverfahren im Sinne des § 81a AufenthG haben aktuell Fälle, in denen Personen, die in Gesundheits- und Pflegeberufen, der Gesundheitsforschung, Transport im Warenverkehr und andere in Zeiten von Corona wichtigen Fällen notwendigen Berufen tätig werden sollen.
- The first priority in the processing of accelerated specialist procedures within the meaning of § 81a of the AufenthG are currently the cases of people who work in health and nursing professions, health research, transport of goods and other occupations necessary in times of Corona.
- If it is not personally possible to apply for an electronic residence permit (eAT) due to the requirements of the authority, the authority can issue a fictional certificate upon informal application and send it by post. Many applications for eATs can also be sent by post, unless the authority can do otherwise.
These changes are very far-reaching and of course clearly limited in time. As soon as the situation eases, the procedures applicable before the Corona crisis must be applied again.
In another blog post, we will give you an overview of the current status of contact options in the authorities at the PROGEDO locations.
You will also find more about the effects of the Corona virus on visas and work permits, including a recommendation for action for employees