New Spaces, New Faces
Following the relaunch of our website at the end of 2018, we are now pleased to announce that we have moved into a new office location in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
In mid-August 2019, we moved from our office at Kobbachstraße 3A – which became too small to accommodate our growing team – into office premises located at August-Schanz Straße 28, a small and neat industrial area located north of Frankfurt. The new location provides us with sufficient opportunity to continue with our expansion strategy. You are welcome to visit and have a look around! Please contact us using the unchanged phone number to arrange an appointment.
We’d also like to introduce some new faces to you that have recently joined our team:
Christian Lentzschjoined our team as Commercial Lawyer and Operations Manager in September 2018. Previously Christian gathered experience in the field of immigration and relocation through working at several relocation companies. With Offer &Mastmann, he has a dual function servicing clients and providing IT and operational support. His expertise already contributed to the relaunch of our website, the adaptation of our IT security architecture to modern requirements and the formalization of our client-onboarding-process.
In mid-April 2019, Gabriele Woodjoined our consultant/paralegal team. Gabriele grew up in South Africa as a native English speaker of German origin, where she has worked in social research and project management. After her return to Germany, we were able to attract her as Trainee Visa Immigration Consultant. She is strengthening the team servicing one of our largest client accounts with her international expertise.
We are also delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Michael Seuchter as Director of Business Development effective August 2019. With him we welcome an established industry expert to the team. Michael has more than 16 years‘ experience in Immigration and has held senior positions in various Global Relocation companies. His experience with growing businesses, expansion strategies, hiring, in process optimization and client management will be of great value to us.
BREXIT – Germany prepares itself
Two months before the official exit date, the UK Parliament is still grappling with the BREXIT debate and has made no concrete decision regarding its transitional arrangements in terms of exiting the European Union. German employers must therefore anticipate and prepare for a hard BREXIT. Should the UK leave the EU by the 31.10.2019 deadline without an exit agreement in place, UK nationals’ immigration status would immediately change from EU Citizen to that of an unprivileged third country national who by German law requires a visa or immigration permit in order to enter the Schengen Area, and live in and work in Germany.
The Federal Government of Germany is preparing intensively for all exit scenarios. Germany aims to safeguard UK nationals as far as possible. By implementing the “Fifth Ordinance Amending the Employment Ordinance” on 4.4.2019, which changes Section 26 BeschV, an easier access to the German labour market will be provided to British citizens. Further, the Federal Government submitted the draft “Law on the Transfer of Freedom of Movement Rights into the Right of Residence as a Result of the Departure of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from the EU” to the Federal Council on 9.8.2019. The proposed “Brexit residence transitional ordinance” aims to suspend the requirement of a residence title for a transitional period of approximately 6 months.
Proposed Transitional Regulations for Employees of British Origin:
- UK nationals and their dependents who reside in Germany at the time of the UK exiting the EU shall be exempted from requiring a residence title for a period of at least six months from date of exist. Upon request, a Provisional Permitproviding you with all previous rights, including a general employment permit, can be provided until the residence title is issued. Application for a residence title must be submitted to the responsible Foreigners Office within this transitional period.
- Access to the free labour market should continue to be granted to UK nationals living and working in Germany prior to a hard BREXIT. Therefore, existing employment contracts shall be kept in place and employees shall be permitted to continue to work independently of their qualifications, the domicile of employment and job title without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency. The same shall be applicable for British nationals who have taken on or plan to take on employment within Germany until 31.12.2019.
- British nationals seeking employment between 1.1.2020 and 31.12.2020 shall be granted the same privileged access to the labour market as citizens of important trading partners, for example, from the USA, Japan and Canada. This category of employees should be permitted to undertake all employment independently of the employer’s domicile, with the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.
All British nationals and their dependents living in Germany, at the time of the UK’s exit from the EU, will receive German residence titles. Those who have been granted long-term residence permits will in turn receive permanent settlement permits even if they do not meet the requirements of § 9 of the German Residence Act
Bettina Offer & Gabriele Mastmann have been listed as best immigration lawyer in Germany
German government defends planned immigration laws
Bettina Offer in an Interview with Deutsche Welle about the new immigration law and the Bureaucratic bottleneck
Immigration Germany Inbound: BREXIT NEWS
It’s the end of January 2019 and the UK Parliament is still heading for a hard BREXIT, due to happen on March 29th this year. While we all hope for a different solution, German employers and their UK employees should act in preparation for better and worse. EU nationals are entitled to the EU Freedom of Movement and do not require any kind of permit to live and work in Germany. When the UK leaves the Union, however, UK nationals’ immigration status immediately changes from EU citizen to that of an unprivileged third country national who by law requires a visa or immigration permit in order to enter the Schengen Area and work in Germany.
What if a No-Deal Hard BREXIT happens?
The German government has announced their intent to allow a 3-months transition period for UK nationals registered in Germany on March 29th. According to their information, UK nationals residing in Germany on March 29th may remain in Germany and continue their current occupation for the duration of 3 months while applying for a permit. Details of the planned transition regulation are however still unclear. The following questions remain unanswered:
- Will UK nationals that are planned to start their employment in Germany after February 29th need to apply for a visa?
- Will their accompanying spouses be obliged to present an A1 German language certificate?
- Are UK nationals under the transition regulation free to travel within/abroad Schengen borders?
- Will UK nationals, that do not qualify for an immigration permit under German immigration law with their current employment, be able to continue to live and work in Germany after the transition period?
While we try to clarify these details with the German government, we nevertheless German employers prepare for a hard BREXIT.
We recommend all German employers to:
- Immediately identify their UK population (including third country nationals married to a UK national) in Germany
- Start collecting the relevant immigration documents (please contact us if you require checklists)
- Prepare immigration applications in order to register and file shortly before / after March 29th
- Already prepare & file visa applications for UK national employees with a start date after March 29th
- Postpone business travel of UK nationals scheduled for April to a later date.
Draft Law on Corporate Immigration Law
The German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community introduced a draft for a new law on corporate immigration. The draft law has been published for discussion of the civil associations and shall be put forth into regular law making process on December 19th.
The draft law does not change the existing rules on immigration of highly qualified workers, acclaimed by the OECD as being a very good immigration law. It also keeps the notion that immigration in principle requires an employment contract prior to entering Germany and that all foreign workers must be employed with working conditions at least equal to those of German personnel. The draft law does introduce new categories for qualified workers without an academic education reflecting on the shortage of employees currently experienced by the German employers. Workers with limited vocational training may obtain required additional qualifications within a period of several years after arrival in Germany during employment. Furthermore the new law introduces a fast track to expedite workers migration and restructures the administration in order to streamline the processing. Finally, it enables workers with a vocational training as well as workers with academic qualifications to enter Germany for a limited period of six months in order to search for employment if they can sustain their costs of living using sufficient funds. The draft also introduces an obligation to employers to notify the authorities if an employment relationship ends prematurely and clarifies that the work permit contained in the immigration visa / permits shall be automatically transferred to allow employment with the new employer when a corporate restructuring affects the employment relationship.
With the draft law Germany clearly defines the country as open for employee migration and welcomes qualified workers. The draft provides some answers to the administrative problems and shortcomings that employee migrants currently experience in the process. Hopes are high that employee migration to Germany will improve in the coming years.
Increase of the required minimum salary for the Blue Card EU 2019
Please note that on 1st January 2019, as every year, the income threshold for contributions into the German public pension scheme will be raised on the basis of general wage developments.
Given that the minimum salary for a Blue Card EU is set as a percentage of this reference amount, this threshold will be adjusted as well. Thus, from 1st January 2019 on, an applicant will presumably have to receive a minimum annual salary of EUR 53.600 (instead of the current minimum of EUR 52.000) in order to obtain a Blue Card EU. A reduced salary threshold for certain shortage occupations will presumably be set at EUR 41.808 (instead of currently EUR 40.560).
Additional prerequisites for the Blue Card EU remain an offered local employment by a German company and a university degree comparable to German standards that fits the job description.
The new thresholds are not relevant for Blue Cards that have already been issued, but will have to be complied with for any new or renewal applications from 1st January 2019 onwards.
Summary of reports to the press conference "Recruitment of skilled workers: Is an immigration law sufficient?" From 20.11.2018 in Berlin
Who is Who Legal Thought Leaders - Bettina Offer
Bettina Offer is now represented with her biography as a Thought Leader by Who is Who Legal.
Please follow this Link to the website of Who is Who Legal
Bettina Offer in an interview for Welt.de - Only the immigration law is not enough for Germany's success
Read here the article in the economic section of Welt.de on the occasion of the draft for a new immigration law. Bettina Offer shares her practical experience in an interview.
New Legal Weekly - What is missing for an immigration country
Bettina Offer has published an editorial titled "What is missing for an immigration country" in the latest issue 43 of the New Legal Weekly
Click here for the article:
Offer & Mastmann - Video
Bettina Offer at the Fair Compact Migration
Bettina Offer participates as invited expert at the hearing for the new corporate immigration law
In June, Bettina Offer attends the hearing of the new corporate immigration law in Berlin as invited expert.
HERE you can read more