Expat in Germany during Corona?
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Information for Internationals in Germany in times of COVID-19
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the German government has implemented a range of temporary immigration-related measures. At Localyze, we are doing our very best to provide some guidance for you and your loved ones during these difficult times.
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It depends on the municipality, but most offices are closed - make sure you check the individual website!
The majority of municipalities in Germany closed their offices and will only be available via phone a/o email for several weeks. Previously arranged appointments at the immigration offices in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Düsseldorf (among others) are no longer valid
Visa extensions and grace periods depend on the visa category and the respective office!
Immigration offices in Munich, Düsseldorf and Berlin provide certificates that permit holders valid residence status until offices reopen and new appointments are made. You can check with your local immigration office’s website for updates on their current policies. This is usually just valid for long-term visa, if your short-term visa expires you still have to travel back to your home country - please contact us if you are not allowed to travel back and unsure how to proceed.
You are still able to enter if you have a valid reason - but check the quarantine regulations for the country you are traveling from!
Germany has introduced cross-border travel restrictions, this will affect all corresponding entries. Cross-border travel into Germany is permitted for EU citizens as well as non-EU citizens for work purposes or professional contractual services supported by appropriate documentation (i.e. contract). Personal journeys are only allowed with an urgent reason - decisions of whether or not there is an urgency for crossing the border are at the discretion of border officials.
Short-term work is a measure to reduce costs, without doing layoffs - so your employer is trying to keep the team throughout the crisis
Companies that have a significant impact on revenues by Corona are allowed to reduce working hours of employees and thus also pay a lower salary. The percentage that is reduced depends on your job and is decided by your employer. You will get 60% of your lost salary compensated by the state, this is a specific measure in place during the Corona crisis. The employer needs to apply for that and will then provide you with a certificate stating the amount of hours that are reduced and that you need to sign (you do not have to, but it is more than recommendable). You can either contact your companies’ HR department for specific questions or ask us - we are here to help!
Depending on the length of your employment in Germany you qualify for government payments - but be careful with your visa situation!
Many companies are seeing significant revenue impacts now and don’t have a choice other than laying off some of their employees. If this happened to you, we are very sorry and want to try our best to help you in this situation. If you worked in Germany for more than 12 months you qualify for “Arbeitslosengeld” - so the government will continue paying a part of your salary. But you have to plan ahead if you want to stay in Germany or go back to your home country, because your visa is no longer valid upon termination of your contract. You either have to start looking for a new job or prepare your departure. Some foreign offices grant a grace period, so that you can stay in Germany for a couple of days after your employment ended - please contact your respective office for details or come to us.
There is no general lockdown yet, only in specific regions, but the restrictions get stricter every day - contact us for updates!
As Germany is a federal republic, the states can take many decisions on their own, so the restrictions vary across Germany. We don't have a general lock-down across the whole country, but gatherings of more than two people outside of your household are forbidden. Nobody can say how long it will persist but we will keep you updated. So far you can still go outside for sports, grocery shopping and taking a walk but you are only allowed to meet one other person at the same time and we strongly advise you to limit the contact to people outside your household to stop the virus from spreading.
You are always allowed to enter your country of citizenship, but travel might be restricted.
Travelling to your home country might involve quarantine as well, as Germany is one of the countries hit hardest by Corona so far. Make sure if there is a travel ban in place, and what specific measures have been taken by the government. Also have in mind that most air travel is suspended - and that flying right now is a risk because you are very close to other passengers. As restrictions might get harder in the following weeks, you should talk to your employer because travelling home can mean that you are not able to enter Germany again in the following weeks, depending on how the situation evolves.
Many embassies are closed by now - check the respective website for updates!
Representations in India (until 3rd April 2020) and China (until 15th April 2020) have paused the processing of visa and residence permits applications. Applicants are free to wait until further results or withdraw their visa applications. Check with your regional embassy and their current policies
Many companies are now considering to start the contract that had been formerly signed on a remote basis.
Unfortunately, and if you are not in Germany yet, you will not be able to get a social security and tax number, as your registration in Germany did not take place. Therefore it could be a good option for both, the future employee and the employer, to start on a freelance basis (and set an extra contract for that) and put a section into the signed contract that this comes into the place, once the candidate has safely arrived in Germany. Bear in mind that when working in your home country (or another one) ,you will need to follow the rules for freelance employment there.