EU Blue Card and Other German Work Permits

February 22, 2018 Chelsea Iversen


If you’re a global mobility specialist looking to send an employee to Germany on a work assignment, there are a number of options available. Workers who are citizens of the EU fall under the right to travel category, which doesn’t require them to obtain a work permit to work in Germany and other EU states. Employees outside the EU, however, will have to apply for one of a large variety of available German work permits, including the following:

The EU Blue Card

German work permit - EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a work permit issued by a majority of EU Member States to highly-qualified non-EU citizens. The purpose of the EU Blue Card directive was to stimulate economic development by making Europe a desirable destination for qualified workers, as well as permitting free movement within the European Union for non-EU citizens.

The EU Blue Card is initially only valid for a single EU Member State, and requirements vary. For example, among other requirements, to be valid in Germany, the salary offered a Blue Card holder must be at least 1.5 times the country’s average salary. After living and working in Germany for a designated period, it is possible to apply to “transfer” the Blue Card to another participating EU Member State.

EU ICT Directive

German work permit - EU ICT directive

In August 2017, Germany added two new categories for work permits for non-EU employers per the EU’s Intra-Corporate Transferees Directive, which enable employees transferring within an organization to work in Germany. The ICT Directive applies to non-EU/EEA (European Economic Area) citizens who are either qualified managers, specialists or graduate trainees. And includes two new schemes for employees who hold an ICT permit with another EU country.

The long-term scheme issues ICT cards for employees who will be working in Germany for longer than 90 days. Essentially, it allows for the transfer of the ICT permit from another EU jurisdiction to Germany and an approval results in the issuance of a Mobile ICT card.

Short-term transfers under this directive that last for up to 90 days in a 180 day window don’t require separate work authorization, but formal electronic notice must be sent to the German Office of Migration and Refugees. Only employees who have worked within the company or entity can apply for the German ICT card.

To determine the best German work permit or option for your employee or would like to learn more about sponsorship in Germany, contact the Envoy Global team.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.

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