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October 2020 6 min

Everything you need to know about hiring international employees

From the status quo’s at embassies to remote working within the EU

You asked we answered: Everything you need to know about hiring international employees

The subject of hiring international employees is complex, especially in current times. On September 15th, we held our first “ask me anything event”, in which participants had the chance to get their questions answered regarding international employees from our panel of experts. We were happy to receive so many valuable questions - from the status quo at embassies to remote working within the EU. Sad to have missed it? Don’t be! Here are all the questions and answers summarized for you.

-- Disclaimer: The information below represents the status as of September 15th, 2020 --

#1 - What is the status quo at German immigration offices?

As of September 1st, residence permits remain valid in all German cities, even if documents are expired or appointments are not taking place. Currently, the authorities have begun scheduling appointments again. Appointment requests via email or booked appointments are considered an application and are currently being processed. However, there are waiting times involved. For more on the specific offices in Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich we have summarized the individual situations below.

Berlin: At the Business Immigration Service, application waiting times are only a few weeks. However, with Localyze you can get your application processed faster. With us you will receive your appointment confirmation within 2 to 3 days, saving you and your employer both time and money.

Hamburg: You can currently send an Email to the relevant services for your application. However, the city treats employer changes as a priority for processing. This means that for new applications, you will need to be patient, it will generally take about 3 months. 

Munich: You can send your application via the contact form. The KVR is currently operating without receiving public visitors. This means that registration is possible via post,  also Blue Cards are sent out via post. 

#2 - Can the labor market approval expire while waiting for a visa?

Unfortunately, work permits can expire while you are waiting for a visa as it is only valid for a period of six months. After this period you will have to apply again for the labor market approval. Even though some embassies might not be too strict, we do not recommend that you risk it once your employee has scored an appointment to apply for the visa, especially if the approval has expired. 

#3 - What documentation is required for an employee to travel to Germany?

The following documents are required when travelling to Germany:

  • Proof of required presence in Germany, e.g. with an employment contract

  • Proof that the employment is economically necessary (“Erklärung des Arbeitgebers”)

  • The relevant Visa. Note: In the case that no visa is required (privileged countries), you can get a confirmation of the “Erklärung” from the local German embassy to make travel easier. Please remember, the documentation needs to include a description of the job position.

If you are still unsure or have any further questions, you can find more information from the BMI here 

#4 - Where do I find regular updates of the current risk areas?

Risk areas that require a quarantine are regularly published by the RKI. To keep up to date with this list click here. If you don’t speak German, that will not be an issue. The information published by the RKI is available in German and English and is updated regularly.

#5 - Where can I check if my employee has to stay quarantined?

Generally speaking, all travelers who have been to risk areas in the past 14 days must be quarantined upon their arrival in Germany. However, the regulations may vary depending on the city of destination. Therefore, we strongly advise you to check for specific information relevant to the particular city your employee intends on entering into.

#6 - My company is registered in Germany. Can employees work remotely from within the EU?

When considering the case of an existing employee with registration, a social security number in Germany, and a temporary residence in another EU country, there may be  implications on taxation and social security. 

It is important to consider the implications of double taxation within the EU. If the employee lives in another EU country and is present in that country less than 183 days of the year, taxes will need to be paid in Germany. However, if the employee is present in that country for more than 183 days, taxes will need to be paid in the other EU country.

So, how does this situation affect Social Security requirements? For employers of bordering regions, social security is usually paid in the country of employment. However, if someone works in two countries and a significant share (25%) of the work is done in the country of residence, social security must be paid in this country.

#7 - Employer change: I hired a Brazilian developer who is in Berlin already. What do I need to do?

In this scenario, it generally depends on the visa and residence permit the person currently holds. The permit is often restricted to the employer and/or to the specific job position. If the old employer is stated on the residence permit or the visa, an employer change has to be requested at the immigration authorities. This is a mandatory step, the employee is not allowed to start working before this employer change has been requested and processed by the relevant authorities. Remember, if only the job position is mentioned on the visa and the residence permit and job remains the same, no employer change is required. 

#8 - What is the status quo at German embassies in India, Iran, and Tunisia?

Generally, embassies are following the local rules of quarantine. This means that if a country is in lockdown, the embassies are not allowed to open for visa applications. Below we will outline the current situation in India, Iran, and Tunisia as of September 1st.  

India: In India, it generally depends on the region. VFS and German embassies have started to re-open and are now gradually taking appointments during August for several types of applications. This includes work visas for highly skilled workers (e.g. Blue Card Applicants). Family reunion visas will be possible to apply for again in Delhi and Mumbai as of September 1st. For more information click here

Iran: Currently in Iran, there are only restricted openings of embassies that are changing on a daily basis. Appointments are only being processed for specific application types e.g. highly skilled workers with employment contracts. However, it is important to remember, waiting times are quite long. You can find more information about the German embassy in Teheran on their website here

Tunisia: The embassy is open in Tunisia with minimal restrictions. This means that you can get an appointment relatively fast. 

As this only reflects the situation as of September 2020, we recommend that you check the VFS website to find out more about the status quo in the specific country that you are interested in. For more information, click here

Do you still have questions?

The new normal and nuances of hiring international employees can both be confusing and intimidating. However, rest assured we are always here to help! Book your free consultation with Localyze now and get all your questions answered.

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