• Work Permit Extensions Subject to Stricter Review; Increase in On-Site Compliance Audits
  • April 13, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • In recent weeks, German immigration officials have increased their scrutiny of work permit extension applications that include salary information that is inconsistent or incongruent with employers’ initial applications. Employers have also been subject to increased on-site audits to verify foreign employees’ immigration documents.

    Increased Work Permit Denials and Administrative Offence Proceedings

    In general, the Federal Employment Agency is authorized to deny work permit extension requests if an employer cannot prove that it has paid the full salary (including allowances) for the entirety of the foreign employee’s assignment that the employer initially indicated when applying for the work permit.

    As a result of the increased scrutiny, employers in recent weeks have seen an increase in work permit extension denials in cases with even minimal differences in monthly salary figures when compared to their initial permit applications. An increasing number of employers have also recently been subject to administrative offence proceedings for filing extension applications with lower salaries than the initial application.

    Increased Immigration Audits

    There has also been a recent increase in the number of on-site immigration audits. During these audits, employers have been asked to provide evidence of work and residence permits for all their foreign employees.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Employers should be aware of the increased scrutiny being applied to work permit extension applications and continue to ensure that they are both strictly complying with salary requirements and are accurately reporting salary data in their extension applications. As a best practice, employers should submit one payslip for each relevant month (in German, if possible) with their work permit extension applications to confirm the gross salary (including all allowances) being paid to the foreign worker.

    Employers should inform their local site managers or local HR offices of the increased possibility of on-site immigration audits. Employers should also continue to inform their foreign employees of their responsibility to have their immigration documents available in case of an audit.