For non-EU expats, getting a visa for Germany can be tricky: so much hinges on securing a work permit. However, Germany’s government recently started a new program for well-qualified expat employees. Even if you don’t need any visa or permit, you’ll need to sort out some other administrative issues.
Unlike some other expat destinations, which have large-scale immigration schemes or depend on a largely foreign workforce, Germany doesn’t have a very extensive visa program. It’s usually not hard to obtain a German short-term visa for personal and business travel in the Schengen area. Other kinds of visa and the respective residence permit, however, rely on your ability to financially support yourself. In most cases, this entails having a confirmed job offer in Germany and getting permission to enter the German labor market. This, in turn, heavily favors international intra-company transfers to a German branch office as well as EU nationals. Unlike expats from non-EU/EEA member states, the latter don’t need a work permit to start a new job in Germany. Still, with the new “Blue Card EU” scheme, the German government wants to make it easier for highly qualified employees to relocate to Germany.