You can employ third-country nationals as drivers of trucks or buses if the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has approved their employment. Approval according to Section 24a (1) of the German Employment Regulation – BeschV requires drivers to possess an EU or EEA driving licence of class C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E or DE and the (accelerated) EU or EEA initial qualification to drive certain vehicles for carrying goods or passengers.
Tip: If the skilled workers already have the required initial qualification or the EU or EEA driving licence, you can accelerate the entry process for your future employees by applying for the fast-track procedure for skilled workers at the relevant Foreigners' Authority.
Employment without an initial EU or EEA qualification
If you have applicants who possess neither an EU or EEA driving licence nor an (accelerated) initial EU or EEA qualification yet, you can employ them in an alternative occupation, as long as you also offer them the opportunity to obtain the necessary German driving licence and (accelerated) initial German qualification.
Entering the country to take part in qualification measures requires that the applicant can prove knowledge of German at level B1 of the Common European Reference Framework. This type of employment will be approved by the BA if the following conditions are fulfilled (according to Section 24a (2) Employment Regulation – BeschV):
- You offer your future employee an employment contract obliging them to take part in measures for obtaining the (accelerated) initial qualification and a German driving licence alongside their employment at the company. During this time, the employee is not permitted to work as a professional driver.
- The working conditions during the qualification measures are arranged in a way that your employee can obtain a German driving licence and the (accelerated) initial qualification within 15 months.
- You guarantee your future employee a concrete offer for employment in your company in the fields of freight transport (HGV driver) or passenger transport with buses (bus driver) after obtaining their EU or EEA driving licence and the (accelerated) initial qualification.
- Proof of possessing a foreign driving licence as a professional driver in the employee’s country of origin is provided.
If your future employee has already obtained the (accelerated) initial qualification during previous employment in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and the qualification is still valid, they may also enter the country by way of exception if they do not have an EU/EEA driving licence. In this case, the foreign driving licence must be converted in Germany within six months. Usually, this conversion process requires passing both a theoretical and practical driving test. You can find out which documents are required for the visa process in that case from the competent diplomatic mission.
If your future employee is aged 45 or over, they must receive a certain minimum salary for employment in Germany or be able to provide proof of a sufficient level of previously earned pension provision. In 2021, this minimum salary is EUR 46,680.
Employment approval takes place with a priority review. You can find out what you need to know as an employer about the approval process from the labour market access team of the BA.
Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Sachsen.de (the free state of Saxony)