Relocation to Germany – 9 Insider Tips

By Start-Up Services , TIRA member, Germany

 

The employment contract or the assignment letter has been signed, the visa has been applied for – but what awaits the Transferee really in his new home country Germany? What surprising habits await me when looking for a place to live, regarding bureaucracy and everyday life? Start your new adventure of relocation to Germany, but with less surprises.

Better prepared with 9 insider tips for your relocation to Germany

For better preparation, we give a concise overview of some peculiarities that will emerge when moving to Germany:

Housing search:

German landlords choose their tenants very carefully. Tenants have many rights in Germany and a landlord has difficulties to get rid of the tenant.

In most metropolitan areas, looking for a flat is like looking for a job and there is a lot of competition and a fast pace. Unlike many other countries, in Germany, the landlord usually pays the commission for the real estate agent.
It is also important to know that in Germany unfurnished apartments are completely empty, without built-in wardrobes, not even lamps or curtain rods are available. Usually no kitchen is installed, only the sanitary facilities in the bathroom and toilet are standard. Partly furnished apartments are uncommon and there are either fully furnished or unfurnished apartments.

Net salary:

The salary is transferred in Germany to the employee as a net salary. It is highly recommended to get an approximate calculation of the net salary from the human resources department or via a gross net calculator online in advance. All taxes, social security and compulsory insurance, both employee and employer contributions, are deducted directly from gross salary.

Church tax:

In Germany, members of certain faiths, such as Protestants and Catholics, are subject to church tax. The church tax currently amounts to 8% of income tax. Every baptized person is counted as a member of a church, the actual practice of the faith is not relevant. Those who do not want to pay church tax must leave the church officially and this requires a personal appearance at the authorities.

Health insurance:

In Germany, health insurance is compulsory. Every employee must notify their employer of their health insurance membership on the first day of work. All family members moving to Germany must be insured as well. As a rule, the transferee should take care of the health insurance before entering the country. There is the statutory health insurance, as well as optional private health insurance for employees with an income above a certain limit (2018: yearly gross income € 59,400).

Child benefit:

The German state supports families with an income-independent monthly payment – the child benefit. Anyone who receives an income that is subject to social insurance contributions in Germany and whose children live in Germany (or the EU) can apply.

Driving license:

All driving licenses except EU driving licenses must be converted within 6 months after the first registration in Germany into a German driver’s license. Depending on the country of origin of the driver’s license, either the theoretical and / or practical driving test or no exams are necessary. The transcription process with exams is time consuming and should be started as soon as possible after entry.

Obligation to register:

In Germany, it is required to notify the local authority about each move to and within Germany. The deadline for the registration is currently 14 days. Anyone who is too late or doesn’t register at all has to expect legal consequences.

Opening times:

In Germany, the opening times of shops, supermarkets and shopping centers are determined by the federal state. On Sundays and public holidays, all shops are usually closed, exceptions are only around stations and airports. There is usually no 24/7 shopping, depending on the region, closing times are at 7 or 8 pm, only in a few regions such as Berlin, supermarkets are also open until 10 or 11 pm.

Broadcasting fee:

In Germany every household has to pay a monthly fee for the public television and radio stations. As soon as you are registered in Germany, you will be contacted by the broadcasting service and asked to pay the monthly fee of € 17.50.

If you liked our condensed overview and you have more questions about moving to Germany, feel free to contact our Relocation experts.

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More about Start-Up Services

In 1983, the founding year of Start-up Services GmbH, there was only a hand full of pioneering relocation service providers around the world. Today, we, as an active member of TIRA (The International Relocation Associates www.tiranetwork.com), offer you a wide range of relocation related services in over 500 locations worldwide.

 

Website: http://start-up-services.de/en/
Google Plus: Start-Up Services GmbH

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More about TIRA
TIRA is an aligned network of quality mobility service providers. The network provides access to leading mobility experts from around the world that provide local solutions to global challenges. Network members exchange best practices and share this value with the industry through benchmarking exercises.

Website: www.tiranetwork.org
Twitter: @TIRAORG
LinkedIn: The International Relocation Associates (TIRA)
Facebook: The International Relocation Associates (TIRA)

Immigration news for Argentina, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Singapore, and Turkey

ARGENTINA | Express Appointments System for Residence Applicants Suspended
Effective immediately, Argentina’s National Immigration Office (DNM) has suspended the system of express appointments in the applications process for temporary residence cards or conversions to permanent residence status. This primarily affects foreign nationals in Argentina from Mercosur countries applying for Temporary Residence or Special Transitory Visas (24H). Mercosur nationals should now be prepared for significant processing delays, in many cases only being able to schedule regular appointments several months from the date of request.

 

IRELAND | INIS Clarifies Letters of Approval for Atypical Worker Scheme Must Be Used Within 90 Days
Effective immediately, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has clarified an existing rule for the Atypical Worker Scheme requiring that letters of approval issued for entry clearance be used within 90 days of issuance. Unused letters of approval become invalid after the 90 days.

 

ISRAEL | New Long-Term Multiple-Entry Business Visa for Indian Nationals
Effective immediately, the Israeli Ministry of Interior will issue a multiple-entry B-2 Visitor Visa for qualifying Indian business travelers valid for up to five years for stays of up to 90 days at a time. Previously, B-2 Visitor Visas for Indian nationals were valid only for a single entry for stays of a maximum of 30 days.

 

ITALY | Scope of Permissible Activities Narrowed for Business Visas
Effective immediately, Italian consulates will be more strictly assessing business visa applications, particularly when defining the permissible business activities under Visa Decree 850/2011. Specifically, consular officers will be more narrowly construing the scope of the expressed enumerated activities in the Decree: namely, “to make contacts or conduct negotiations” or “for learning and verifying the use and functioning of capital goods purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements.

 

SINGAPORE | Upcoming Changes to Requirements for Employment Pass and S Pass Applications
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced upcoming changes to its foreign workforce policy, including  expanding the Fair Consideration Framework for Employment Pass (EP) applications to include more companies and positions in the job advertising requirement and increasing the minimum salary requirement for S Pass holders.

 

TURKEY | Delays Possible Due to New Work Permit System
Effective February 26, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) requires work permit applications to be submitted using the sponsoring company’s account via the recently-introduced KEP (kayitli electronik posta) system. However, as of February 27, the new MOL work permit application system incorporating KEP was not fully operational.

 

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Immigration changes in UAE, Columbia, Panama and the UK

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Plans to Increase Local Hiring Announced

The first phase of the plan targets 400 occupations with monthly salaries of at least AED 10,000 in more than 2000 companies. MOHRE has not named yet specifically named any of the selected companies who are participating in the program, only describing them as important players in the UAE’s economic supply chain with large numbers of employees. Participating companies will be given discounts on government fees relating to their businesses. In addition, the ministry also offers to set up satellite offices for participating companies in rural areas to facilitate recruitment and hiring.

 

COLOMBIA | New Deadline for Special Stay Permits for Venezuelan Nationals
A new deadline has been established for Venezuelan nationals to obtain Special Stay Permits (PEPs) allowing them to stay and work in Colombia for up to two years. Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia before February 2 now have four months from February 4 to apply for PEPs. Previously, only Venezuelan nationals in Colombia by July 28, 2017 could apply for a PEPs, with that deadline closing October 31, 2017.

 

PANAMA | Update on New Requirement for In-Person Visits to the Ministry of Labor
On December 26, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) issued a decree requiring all work permit applicants to visit the Ministry in person for biometric registration before submitting any initial or renewal work permit application. The new registration system  ̶  which is now expected to be implemented on March 6  ̶  will include scanning of the applicant’s fingerprints and passport and photographing. However, the registration will not apply to applicants for the SEM residence visa for permanent staff of multinational companies who do not require separate work permit applications. For more details, see our Immigration Dispatch of January 8.

 

UNITED KINGDOM | Indefinite Leave to Remain Closes for Tier 1 (General) Visa Holders on April 5
Foreign nationals in the UK under the Tier 1 (General) category will no longer be permitted to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after April 5. The Tier 1 (General) was a category aimed at “highly skilled migrants” who wished to come to the UK residence and employment (including self-employment) without requiring a sponsor. The category closed to new applicants in 2011, remaining open until April 2015 only to those making extension applications.

 

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Russia tightens migration rules for World Cup

New changes to the registration procedure for Russian and foreign citizens in Moscow, as well as other major cities for the duration of 2018 FIFA World Cup have been introduced.

What are the changes?

  • For the duration of reinforced security measures, migration registration and residence registration of foreign citizens is to be performed on the next day, following the day of their arrival; to the place of staying or residence by submitting required documents to the relevant local migration authority
  • Citizens of Russia arriving to temporarily stay as well as temporarily or permanently reside in living premises (excluding hotels, resorts, etc.) must apply to the local migration authority for registration not later than 3 business days from the day of arrival. Registration is to be issued by migration authorities on the day of application
  • Russian citizens must notify local migration authorities of the duration and place of residence in person
  • Aforementioned rules are not applicable to Russian and foreign citizens participating in the FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as representatives of FIFA, FIFA subsidiaries, confederations and national football organisations

When and where the temporary registration rules will be effective?

  • From May 25, 2018 till July 25, 2018
  • In the territories of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Rostov-na-Donu, Saransk and Samara

Who is affected?

  • Both foreign and Russian citizens arriving from abroad or from other Russian regions into aforementioned cities while reinforced security measures are active

Intermark comments, “We recommend all Russian and foreign citizens arriving during the time of reinforced security measures to timely register on the Decree’s terms – regardless of usual registration-free terms for various categories of citizens.“It is important to remind that violation of registration rules leads to administrative penalties for citizens and for host parties.”In particular, the fine for a host party that fails to meet the requirements of migration registration amounts to the following:

  • 2000 – 4000 rubles (35-70$) – for individuals
  • 40 000 – 50 000 rubles (771-890$) – for officials
  • 400 000 – 500 000 rubles (7 115- 8 894$) – for legal entities
  • The penalty for foreign citizens amounts to 2000 – 7000 rubles (35-125$) with possible expulsion from Russia

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Immigration changes in Poland, Ghana, Iraq, Nigeria and Russia

POLAND | Stricter Rules and Requirements for Work Permits for Some Foreign Nationals
Effective January 1, a number of significant changes to immigration regulations were implemented in Poland. The changes apply to registration of foreign nationals, work permit exemptions for certain nationalities, and various changes to application document requirements. Authorities indicate that an additional round of changes is also now slated for later in February.

Corporate Proxies and General Partners – The requirement of obtaining a Type B work permits for stays of 6 to 12 months has been extended to include companies’ non-EEA national corporate proxies and general partners in addition to the management board members as previously required.

 

GHANA | Recent Announcement Requires Medical Certificates to Be Obtained In-Country
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) recently posted a brief announcement of a new policy – purportedly with an effective date of February 15 – requiring all new applicants for work and residence permits to obtain medical certificates only through the GIS medical facility at its headquarters in Ghana. Previously, medical certificates in support of a work permit applications could be issued by a local doctor in the applicant’s home country.

 

IRAQ | Major Changes to Rules on Single-Entry and Multiple-Entry Visas, Exit Visas, and Mobility of Employees With Expired Visas
Iraq continues to refine its employment-based immigration system. On February 8, the Ministry of interior (MOI) issued a notification making several fairly significant changes that impact companies employing foreign nationals in the country.

 

NIGERIA | New Executive Order Imposes Tougher Local Hiring Measures
On February 2, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed an executive order (EO5) aimed at promoting local Nigerian expertise in science, engineering, and technology. EO5 prohibits the federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) from issuing visas to foreign workers whose skills are deemed to be readily available in Nigeria. Consideration of work visas will only be given to foreign nationals where has been certified by the appropriate governmental authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria. Under the order, Nigerian government agencies must also give hiring preference to foreign companies and firms with demonstrable and verifiable plans for indigenous development.

 

RUSSIA | New Rules Bring Administrative Changes to Work Permits Application Process
Effective February 4, new regulations on issuing work permits have brought some administrative changes to the work permit process. For the purpose of obtaining work permits, including permits for Highly-Qualified Specialists (HQS), application forms must be signed by the chief executive, head of branch or representative office, or other persons who have the authority to sign documents for the company without a Power of Attorney. Additionally, fees for renewal and corrections are expected to be charged in the coming weeks, processing times for standard (non-HQS) work permits have increased to 15 business days, and documents issued by authorities containing pencil-written notes may cause applications to be refused.

 

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