Moving Employees to Germany Efficiently and Effectively
Why does a company need to bring employees to Germany?
If your company is looking to establish a branch or a subsidiary in Germany, or move employees to an existing branch or subsidiary, then you’ll need to take care of all the related legal requirements that come with those personnel relocations. It may seem trivial, however it’s anything but. There are a number of considerations that you need to make when deploying personnel to Germany.
Let’s first distinguish between a branch and a subsidiary:
A branch office, according to German law, is an establishment with a direct connection to a parent company elsewhere in the world, but without its own assets or standalone accounting system. It is only allowed to carry out the same activities as that of the head office, it is not allowed to expand beyond that. In essence, it acts as a local satellite office, with limited autonomy, it remains a mere extension of an existing operation.
A subsidiary on the other hand is considered a limited liability company in Germany and must be registered as a separate enterprise. Subsidiaries have full autonomy but must pay taxes according to German regulation and are essentially seen as a German business through and through.
Both types of organization carry with them different legal ramifications and structural challenges that need to be overcome. They both have their own pros and cons and are useful in different ways.
Regardless of which one you go with; you’ll need to relocate key employees to your branch or subsidiary legally so that you can start operating. This requires a keen understanding of the intricacies of German immigration law and experience in navigating those waters efficiently. This is not something you can do on your own. For the best results, you need a highly competent and reliable partner that understands the system and acts in your best interests to handle any and all issues that crop up during the process.
That’s where we come in.
What services do we offer?
Our employee mobility services range across the gamut and cover everything you could ever need when relocating personnel to Germany. Here are just a few of the more common things that we assist clients with:
EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is a new type of residence permit designed specifically for highly qualified individuals who are moving to the EU. For qualified individuals, it supplies a short-term residence permit to the applicant, which is tied to the duration of the employment contract itself. The application process is strict and there are a range of requirements that need to be met in order to qualify for the permit.
We have assisted numerous clients with helping their employees attain this permit, guiding them through the process and ensuring that there are no speedbumps along the way. This is one of the fastest ways to get your employees up and running in the country.
Intra-Corporate Transfer Card (ICT Card)
The ICT Card is a mechanism for transferring employees from one part of their business to another in an efficient way. It’s most commonly used to bring employees from outside the EU, into EU-based parts of their company structure. This is especially relevant for global corporations who are opening up branches in Germany or expanding their existing branch structures and need to transfer employees to those local operations.
The goal of the ICT card is to ease business transfers and the application process is much less onerous than those of a traditional visa. Some of the requirements for an ICT card are as follows:
- The employee has already been employed for a minimum of 6 months at time of application.
- The employee is not in the probationary period of their contract.
- The employee is a non-EU citizen and is being transferred to an EU branch of the company.
- The company is going to continue to employ the applicant throughout their time in the EU.
- The employee has a valid university degree or some other form of proof of the required skills.
- The contract duration is between 90 days and a year for a trainee, or between 90 days and 3 years for a specialist or manager
The card also requires that the employee is provided with the same working and salary conditions that apply to local German workers so that it can’t be used to undermine the local workforce.
This can be a real asset for employees moving to a German branch, but you need to understand the conditions and requirements to get it done. We have assisted many clients with obtaining the card for their employees so they can transition effectively into the German branch or subsidiary. Every case here is different, as you might imagine, so it’s helpful to have good lawyers on your side to deal with the complexity.
German Work Visa
The more traditional route, and the one that allows for more long-term stays is to acquire a work visa. Again, the process for this can be somewhat opaque, so it pays to have someone local help you with the application.
If you’re coming from a first-world country like the USA, Canada, or other EU member states you can arrive in Germany and then apply for the work visa. If not, then you’ll need to apply and obtain the working visa for your employees before they arrive on German shores.
The applications tend to be split into a few different categories:
- Highly Qualified Foreigners:
Researchers with special technical knowledge
Teaching personnel in prominent positions
Scientific personnel in prominent positions
- Intra-Corporate Transferees:
- Third-World Nationals who meet the following criteria:
Professionals who have skills which are in short supply in Germany;
Have a concrete job offer in Germany; and
Have obtained education that has a recognized equivalent in Germany.
If your employee falls into one of those categories, then you’ll need to go through the application process which requires some of the following documentation:
- 2 completed application forms.
- 2 passport photographs.
- A valid national passport.
- Proof of residence.
- Proof of health insurance.
- A valid employment contract.
- Approval from the Federal Employment Agency (if applicable)
- Your updated curriculum vitae showing qualifications and experience.
- Proof of your qualifications.
- A personal cover letter.
- Proof of a clean criminal record.
- Proof of payment for the visa fee.
- A declaration of accuracy of the information
As you can see, this can be quite a process and is a significant investment of time and resources. You want to make sure you can get it right the first time. We can assist with all the documentation and getting things in order so that the application process is as smooth as possible. We’ve done this numerous times for clients all across the globe and can bring that experience to the table for you and your employees.
German Relocation Services
Moving employees into a new country is very stressful and carries with it a lot of different considerations that can be overwhelming. Together with our partners Expats in Wonderland, we pride ourselves on top-notch relocation assistance, helping your people access the required work permits and residence permits, as well as securing housing, school admission for their children, and much more.
Our holistic services provide much needed support for those employees who are uprooting their lives and starting afresh in a foreign land. You can have the peace of mind to know that your employees are well taken care of, and that they won’t have to face any bureaucratic or administrative burdens alone.
Instead of worrying about all the legal bits and pieces, they can focus on what really matters – the work itself. We’ll take care of the rest.
When you ask an employee to move to Germany, you are asking a lot of them – especially if they are bringing a family along with them. It can be quite an ordeal to move a whole family to a foreign land, so it’s important that you do it properly. An employee is not going to be productive and on board with your plans unless they know that their loved ones are taken care of.
We have vast experience in the field of family immigration and can assist greatly with all the complexities that come along with family members joining your employees in Germany. Our tact and professionalism make what could be a scary time, into one that flows seamlessly and helps families set up their new life, their home away from home.
Speak to Us Today
So, there you have it. Transferring employees to Germany brings along its own complexities from a legal standpoint, but with a partner who has your best interests at heart – you can smooth over those details and get straight to business as quickly as possible.
We are so excited about the number of companies that are setting up shop in Germany and are doing everything we can to help those who are. If you are in that position and are in the market for high-quality, personalized, employee mobility services in Germany – then please do get in touch with us today. We’re looking forward to hearing about your plans and seeing how we can help make them a reality.
Don’t skimp on legal advice here, it will hurt you in the long run. Make sure you do it properly the first time and your future self will thank you.
Looking forward to hearing from you!