Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Regulations on admission to the labour market

Nationals of EU member states and the EFTA states are entitled to work in Germany under the “right to freedom of movement”. The same rules apply to them as to employees who are German nationals. Access to the German labour market for international qualified professionals from third countries usually requires the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

Approval will usually be given if

  • a legal provision (Residence Act) or employment ordinance guarantees access to the German labour market,
  • the person has an actual job offer and
  • no applicants with priority rights – German nationals – are available for that actual post (Vorrangprüfung – priority check) and the work conditions are comparable with those of German employees.

People who do not need approval from the Federal Employment Agency

In certain cases, work permits can be granted without the approval of the BA:

  • Highly qualified individuals with a settlement permit
  • Holders of an EU Blue Card (in the case of occupations with a shortage of applicants, BA approval is necessary)
  • Graduates of German universities
  • Graduates of German Schools Abroad
  • Managers with full or limited representational powers and partners in Handelsgesellschaften (general partnerships), as well as the managerial staff of companies which also operate outside Germany, at executive, senior and middle management levels. 

The fact sheet issued by the Federal Employment Agency, “Beschäftigung ausländischer Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer in Deutschland” (“Employing foreign workers in Germany”) contains detailed information on the issue of employment of foreign qualified professionals.

Applying for admission to the labour market

The Federal Employment Agency is responsible for applications for admission to the labour market. The work permit is issued by the Foreigners authority together with the Residence permit if the Federal Employment Agency gives its approval. This approval is granted through an internal procedure.

The work permit teams at the Federal Employment Agency have branches in a number of regions across Germany. Their different responsibilities and contact data can be found on the Federal Employment Agency website.

Tip: The Federal Employment Agency’s Migration Check provides a first indication of whether your new recruit requires a work permit and whether or not this can be granted. Click here to go to the Migration Check.


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