The Residence Act (colloquially known as the Blue Card Act) came into effect on 1st August 2012. Amongst much else, it contained numerous relaxations for employment of foreign workers and students.


For example, § 18 b of the Residence Act allows the employment of certain occupational groups with a shortage of skilled workers (e.g. engineers, mathematicians, doctors and IT specialists) with a minimum gross income of € 43,056 (as of 2020) per annum (for comparison, for other skilled workers the figure is: € 55,200 of gross annual income pursuant to § 2 (1) (2) (a) Employment Regulations).

The implied consent of the Employment Agency for Labor Market Inspection and Inspection of Working Conditions means that foreign workers are allowed to be employed faster. That is because if the Employment Agency does not react within two weeks and informs the Immigration Department that the information provided by the applicant is insufficient or the employer has failed to provide all the necessary information, the consent to employment is considered granted.

Another development is that the job search visa for newly entering skilled workers is now valid for up to six months (§ 20 Residence Act 2020).

Family members (spouses, life partners) of skilled workers or qualified graduates are now given full access to the labor market, as the need for approval of the Employment Agency and the Labor Market Inspection was cancelled.