Germany: New Law Allows Certain Change of Status Applicants to Begin Work Sooner

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • A new law allows some foreign nationals to start work sooner
  • Applicants can now start work when their employment-related residence permits are ordered
  • The new law reduces delays in foreign workers’ start dates
  • Foreign nationals can start work when they receive preliminary approval for their applications to change employer or change of status for their work-related residence permit
  • The law affects Best Friend Permit applicants and foreign graduates applying for a work-related permit in Germany
  • State-specific details on permit issuance will be provided as available


Foreign nationals who are applying to either change their status to an employment-based permit or change employers can start work when their permits are ordered to be printed. They no longer must wait for their permits to be printed to start work.

What are the Changes?

The new law allows foreign nationals to start working in Germany more quickly. Previously, foreign workers had to wait for their permits to be printed to commence work, which caused up to six-week delay in start times.

Under the new law, foreign nationals who receive preliminary approval for their applications can obtain a temporary permit to provide evidence of their work authorization while they wait for their new residence permit card to be printed. They can start working upon receiving application approval.

Who is Affected?

The law applies to foreign nationals who hold a residence permit for work purposes and who are applying in-country for a change of status to their work-related residence permit or who are changing their employer. Impacted permits include the Best Friend Permit, which affects US, Canadian, and New Zealand nationals, and foreign graduates who want to apply in Germany for a work-related residence permit.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

Under Germany’s new law, applicants are authorized to work immediately after the immigration office approves their change of employer or change in permit status. They no longer must wait to receive a printed permit from the Federal Printing Office. Foreign nationals will be issued interim permits for work authorization purposes while they wait for their work-related residence permits to be printed.

Looking Ahead

Permit issuance is expected to vary by state. The German government will provide updates when available on state-specific permit issuance policies as states start adopting the new rules.


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-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.