In the light of increased numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Germany, legal acts have been issued over the last few years to facilitate entry into the German employment market and to reduce administrative hurdles for employers, especially when it comes to training programs.

Since a change in the law 2014, it is possible for asylum seekers to undertake employment without the previous authorisation by the employment office, inter alia, in case of:

  • company-based training programs and apprenticeships;
  • highly-qualified people (requirements similar to the EU Blue Card); and
  • internships as a mandatory part of educational programs.

Since August 2015 previous authorisation by the employment office is no longer needed for some additional types of internships, such as certain short-term internships (under three months) for orientation purposes.

However, entering into actual employment-relationships is in most cases still subject to approval by the employment office. An application is possible after three months of staying in Germany. The administration will in each case undertake an assessment as to whether a certain job position could be filled by a German or EU citizen instead. Only if this is not the case will a work permit be issued.

Impact for employers

While some administrative barriers have been lifted and employing asylum seekers in Germany increasingly becomes an option for companies, especially where certain personnel is needed, the legal framework will in many cases still necessitate legal assessment of each given case. However, work integration and job related training has become considerably less restricted.