Germany – Family member working permission extended13 September 2013
Direct and unrestricted permission to work has now been extended to resident family members of all foreign workers who did not already have this facility under earlier legislation.
The change is one of a number of improvements to the rights of foreign workers agreed by the German parliament on 29 August 2013 and announced in the Federal Law Gazette on 5 September.
This means that the recognised family members of intra-company transferees and researchers will now be able to work or be self-employed throughout an assignment without needing separate permission once they are resident in Germany.
To make immigration more attractive for skilled workers, Germany had already taken earlier steps to allow family members to work. Since 2005, the spouses of highly skilled workers granted an immediate settlement permit were free to work. The spouses of intra-company transferees and researchers could get permission to work for a named employer without a test of the labour market, but they had to wait two years to have completely open access to employment. Since August 2012, the family members of EU Blue Card holders have been free to work.
The Government’s rationale for the change was that since immigration in Germany was essentially limited to academic professionals and the majority of family members already had access to employment, it would now be appropriate to grant all family members free and immediate access to the employment market on a uniform basis. This would make it possible for family members to contribute to their livelihood through their own employment.
To effect the change, the German Resident Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) is amended with a new clause 27 (5) under Section 6 on Family members. It says “Der Aufenthaltstitel nach diesem Abschnitt berechtigt zur Ausuebung einer Erwerbstaetigkeit.” (Translation: A residence permit granted under this section grants the holder the right to take up gainful employment.)
Germany is one of thirty countries that allow accompanying dependants to work. At Permits Foundation, we applaud this latest consolidation of best practice and continue to campaign globally on the issue.
Commenting on the change, Dr. P. Spauschus, spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said: “The new provision helps make immigration to Germany more attractive to skilled workers with families. The question whether spouses may work plays a key role in choosing the country of immigration. Free access to the labour market will enable family members to become integrated in the labour market from the beginning. This new provision reduces unnecessary obstacles and makes Germany more welcoming for immigrants.”
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