• New Government Announces Immigration Priorities
  • January 6, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel and a new coalition government of conservatives and social democrats took office in December. The new government’s coalition agreement broadly outlines its immigration agenda for its coming four-year term, including a number of policy changes that will affect employers and their foreign workers.

    Germany will seek to strengthen security at the European Union’s external borders, including pushing for the implementation of an EU-wide entry exit system (EES). The EES, which was proposed in March 2013, would be capable of gathering and storing visa and biometric data for all third-country nationals entering and exiting the EU. It would calculate the length of a traveler’s authorized stay electronically and issue alerts to national authorities when a traveler does not exit by his or her expiration date. It would also be able to track the total time a traveler spends in the Schengen Area. The EES could mean stricter policies on frequent business travel and visa overstays, and would require employers to more closely monitor their employees’ travel to ensure compliance.

    The new government intends to put a strong emphasis on making Germany more open to immigration and the integration of foreign nationals. For employers, this could mean reduced transaction costs and processing times for immigration procedures. Local and state initiatives should make immigration offices more welcoming for foreign workers and residents.

    The new government is planning to ease dual citizenship restrictions by eliminating a rule that requires individuals born in Germany as dual citizens to relinquish either their German or their foreign citizenship at age 23. This rule is considered to have a negative effect on the integration of foreign nationals and is opposed by a significant part of German society. It is not yet known when the rule will be abolished.