Passengers about to board a flight (symbol image). As from 18 November, in accordance with the Act on the Further Development of Skilled Immigration, skilled workers from non-EU countries can now immigrate into and work in Germany more quickly and with less bureaucracy/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Germany: New Laws and Other Changes in November 2023

November 2023 brings some important changes not only for people living in Germany but also those aspiring to come and work in the country. Among other things, it will now be much easier for skilled workers to immigrate to Germany. Is your car insurance renewing on 1 January 2024? We have news for you! Also, we inform about this year’s Christmas market season.
Our overview here shows what the new month will bring.

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New ways to migrate to Germany

The German government is removing barriers to the immigration of skilled workers from non-EU countries (the so-called third countries) with a new law.

The Act on the Further Development of Skilled Immigration was passed by the Bundesrat (the upper chamber of the federal parliament) on 7 July 2023. The law consists of several parts that will come into force successively from 18 November 2023. This is to ensure that the authorities concerned have sufficient time for implementation.

Here are the changes that will enter into effect in November:

  • The earnings threshold for the so-called Blue Card will be lowered. For example, someone earning €39,682.80 meets the threshold for an entry-level position in a sector considered as affected by labour shortage. For other sectors you need to show an annual income of €43,800 or more to get an EU Blue Card. Skilled workers in maths, IT, science, engineering and medicine as well as those in manufacturing, construction and logistics as well as in pharmacy, vet science, dentistry, nursing with a degree, teaching and childcare can get an EU Blue Card with the lower salary threshold.
  • IT specialists will be able to obtain an EU Blue Card in future if they do not have a university degree but can prove that they have at least three years of comparable professional experience. In this case, the lower salary threshold for bottleneck professions applies (39,682.80 euros).
  • Employment of professional drivers: The approval process of the Federal Employment Agency for the employment of professional drivers from non-EU countries will be simplified. It will no longer be necessary to check whether the applicants possess the required EU or EEA driving licence and the basic qualification or accelerated basic qualification. In addition, the priority check has been cancelled and the requirement of German language skills no longer applies.
  • New regulations for residence permit for skilled workers with vocational training and skilled workers with academic qualifications: People are now entitled to a residence permit if all requirements (in accordance with the relevant existing regulations in Sections 18a and 18b AufenthG) are met. The restriction that you may only work on the basis of the qualification obtained with the vocational qualification has been lifted. This means that if you have a qualified vocational qualification or a university degree, you are not restricted to jobs related to this training when looking for a job. There are exceptions for regulated professions.

Other provisions of the law will enter into force in March and June 2024. The objective of the new legislation is to address the acute labour shortage in most sectors by bringing in skilled workers from around the world. The number of unfilled vacancies in 2022 was around 1.98 million.

Claims in the event of flight delays or product defects
The law for a new type of representative action makes it easier and quicker for consumers to assert their rights. The representative action allows consumer associations to take direct legal action against a company for the same claims made by consumers. This can involve defective products, delayed flights or unauthorised account fees. At the same time, the judiciary is relieved of the burden of mass individual lawsuits.

More information about the new Skilled Immigration Act HERE

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Should you change your car insurance?

If you own a car, you should remember 30 November because it’s important if you want to change your car insurance. If you want to cancel in good time so that you can perhaps switch to a cheaper rate, you must ensure that the cancellation letter is received by the insurance provider by 30 November at the latest.

If your provider increases your premiums, you even have a little longer: this is because you then have a special right of cancellation of one month after receiving the first new invoice.

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Cell broadcast also for owners of older mobile phones

Just a few weeks ago, owners of new smartphones received a warning message on their mobile phones as part of the nationwide warning day. However, the Cell Broadcast warning system was previously not available on older mobile phones. According to Vodafone, this is set to change in November 2023.

But there are two catches: firstly, the messages will only be sent to older devices in German language. Secondly, owners of older mobile phones have to make sure that the warning system is activated on their devices themselves. To do this, they have to switch on the three-digit message IDs in the message settings.

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The Christmas market season starts

The annual Christmas market season will kick off this month. Preparations are underway in numerous cities as stalls are being set up and traders are already stocking.

However, the season starts at different dates across the nation. For example, the Christmas Garden at Wilhelma, Stuttgart, will already open on 15 November. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Christmas market season starts even earlier: the on in Ludwigshafen opens on 8 November – the earliest in the entire state, according to the city. And Christmas markets won’t open until 27 November in Berlin.

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Bargain hunters, “Black Friday” & co are coming!

Every consumer is happy to take advantage of discounts. And November offers several opportunities to do so, with “Singles Day” on 11 November, “Black Friday” on 24 November and “Cyber Monday” on 27 November, when online shops and bricks-and-mortar retailers once again entice customers with discount campaigns. Some shops are even declaring an entire “Black Friday” week from 20 November.

While the promise is that you can save a lot of money with many retailers claiming to have reduced their prices by 70 per cent, 80 per cent or even 90 per cent off, studies have, however, shown that it is not possible to save as much in the discount season as many people think.

The comparison portal Check24 assumes that the average price saving is eleven per cent. Guenstiger.de has calculated a value of ten per cent and the price comparison portal idealo, on the other hand, only reckons with a price saving of five per cent.

Moreover, consumer rights advocates are warning consumers to only shop online with reputable retailers. This is because fraudulent online shops, so-called fake shops, are often set up in this season of discounts. The criminals assume that people are in such a shopping mood and looking for discounts that they don’t look closely at where they are actually shopping online. So, be careful where you shop online!

Sola Jolaoso

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