Improved procedures set for foreign employees, family members

9 Feb 16

GERMANY

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The German government has passed a legal amendment that eliminates the need to obtain approval of local immigration authorities for certain foreign employees and accompanying family members.

What does the change mean? The change is intended to improve processing times for certain foreign nationals and make it easier for family members to be processed within a close timeframe to the principal applicant.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The amendment passed Dec. 29.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work and residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA nationals and accompanying family members.
  • Impact on processing times: The amendments are intended to improve processing times by several weeks.
  • Business impact: Foreign nationals who previously resided in Germany and family dependents of foreign employees may benefit from the elimination of the step requiring local immigration approval.  

Background: The new rules apply to foreign nationals in cases where a previous stay in Germany triggered the requirement of obtaining approval of local immigration authorities. Under the new rule, they may obtain expedited processing.

The new rules also apply to family members of foreign employees who generally required approval of local authorities, which made their application process much longer than the principal applicant and prevented them from traveling to Germany together. As BAL reported last year, several jurisdictions have already relaxed this requirement for family members. The rule change by the German government expands this policy nationwide.

BAL Analysis: While the changes aim to streamline procedures, improvements in processing times may not be seen immediately. German consular and Foreign Office staff will need to be trained on the new rules, and at this time they have shifted resources to adjudicate asylum claims, resulting in processing delays.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Germany. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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