• New Regulations Broaden Permissible Activities for Business Visitors
  • June 12, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Business visitors to Germany will be permitted to engage in a wider range of activities when a new Employment Regulation takes effect July 1, 2013. There will also be a new immigration option for workers with vocational training but no university degree, and restrictions on inter-European transfers of third-country nationals will be eased.

    The new law is aimed at promoting skilled migration to Germany.

    Expanded Options for Business Visitors

    Foreign nationals sent to Germany by their employers to establish, audit, or control a subsidiary in Germany will no longer require work authorization. They will be able to conduct these activities as business visitors for up to three months per year, as will foreign nationals seeking to draft contracts for clients and supervise contract implementation.

    Leading executives of companies will be allowed to work for up to six cumulative months per year as business visitors, provided no individual stay exceeds three consecutive months. Upper-level managers and partners are considered “leading executives” under the rule.

    New Options for Vocational Workers

    Germany will introduce a new immigration option for skilled workers with vocational training but no university-level education. Though details of the new program have not been announced, applicants are expected to be required to demonstrate that they have sufficient qualifications in a profession that is recognized by the German authorities. Their qualification must be comparable to a qualification obtained through German vocational training for the specific profession.

    German labor authorities will designate specific occupations open to foreign vocational workers. Certain occupations and nationalities may be subject to annual quotas.

    Van der Elst Visa Requirement to be Eliminated for the Visa-Exempt

    Van der Elst visas will no longer be required of visa-exempt third-country nationals working in a European Economic Area (EEA) country and seeking to enter Germany to provide services to a customer on behalf of their employer for less than three months per year. The visa requirement still applies to nationalities requiring a visa to enter Germany.

    The Van der Elst process derives from a 1994 ruling by the European Court of Justice regarding the right of an EU company to provide services within the EU. It generally allows a non-EU national who is employed by a company in one EU country to provide services to a company in another EU country for a limited period without the need for a work permit. It has been incorporated into Germany’s national immigration law for some time.