"I handed my passport to the immigration officer, and he looked at it and looked at me and said, »WHAT are you?«"
Mrs. Grace Hopper, US Rear Admiral, Computer Scientist and inventor of COBOL
The German immigration law governing the issuance of visas and residence permits in principle requires any Non-European (EEA) foreigner to hold a residence permit for the purpose of his or her stay. The law is in general a category-based system: Permits are only available for the purpose of tourism, employment, study or family re-unification. For most of the employment categories an internal approval from the labour authorities, a work permit, is required.
The consequences for breaking the rules in Germany can be severe, for the employer as well as for individual assignees or customers. Employers and their customers are legally responsible to ensure that all employees hold the appropriate visa/ residence permit.
Administrative fines apply to individuals or companies that employ a foreigner without the proper permit. Fines can be up to EUR 500.000 per case.
Professionally submitting misleading or wrongful information to authorities in order to obtain a residence/work permit or visa for a third party is a criminal offence and may result in fines or even imprisonment.