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Germany eases post-study work and immigration legislation for foreign students

University World News has reported that regulations just approved by the federal parliament, to implement a European Union (EU) directive on the highly qualified, could considerably improve conditions for foreign students and academics in Germany.

The new law provides for far-reaching changes going beyond the EU requirements.

  • Students will be allowed to work to earn a living for 120 instead of 90 days a year.
  • On graduating, they can stay in Germany for 18 instead of the current 12 months to seek skilled posts.
  • No restrictions will be imposed on employment during the period in which they are looking for permanent employment, and Federal Labour Agency consent will not be required.
  • A permanent resident’s permit will be granted after two years.

Furthermore, foreign academics will be granted a resident’s permit for up to six months. Academics holding an employment contract and earning a minimum of €44,800 (US$59,000) a year (and with some professions, just €35,000 a year) will receive a Blue Card. With this, they can obtain a permanent resident’s permit after two to three years. And their next of kin will not require approval by the Federal Labour Agency when taking a job.

Finally, the maximum stay for students including preparatory courses has once again been raised, to 10 years, and the maximum for a doctorate is five years. In 2009, time for a first-degree course plus a doctoral course was restricted to 10 years, which the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has always maintained is too little time even if the prescribed duration of first-degree studies is observed.

The organisation stresses that the new measures give students and academics more freedom of decision – an important aspect, it says, in a cosmopolitan and hospitable country.

These legislation changes come in the wake of an interesting report based on a survey conducted by the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR). More than one in 10 of Germany’s two million plus students are foreigners, and that proportion is on the increase. However, while four out of five foreign students said they wished to stay on in Germany after graduating, most of them return home. Many appeared to be frustrated by the complex regulations that have to be met to gain the right to stay, and 39.4% reported facing prejudice.

Survey results from Germany, France, the UK, The Netherlands and Sweden will be reported in more detail in tomorrow’s post – stay tuned!

Source: University World News

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