Immigration to the EU

Immigration to the European Union for gainful employment is subject to conditions.

Legal framework

A common immigration policy is being developed by the European Union (EU) in accordance with Article 79 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to ensure effective management of migration flows and fair treatment of third-country nationals residing legally in EU member states while doing more to prevent and combat irregular immigration and human trafficking.

Measures defining the rights of third-country nationals residing legally in member states (cf. Art. 79 (2) (b) TFEU) are therefore being adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. In accordance with Article 79 (5) TFEU, member states have the right to determine how many third-country nationals may enter their territory to seek work as employees or self-employed persons.

Examples of access pathways under EU law

Within Germany’s Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community is responsible for the immigration of third-country nationals. On its website you can find an overview of Germany's labour migration law regulations largely based on EU legislation.

The relevant EU directives also contain regulations concerning how much and what kind of labour market access the respective group of persons (e.g. for highly qualified persons, researchers and academics, seasonal workers and persons transferred within companies) has as well as their rights under social law.

Access pathways may also come via so-called association agreements that the EU has concluded with third countries

Working in Germany

If you are from a third country and would like to work in Germany, you can find out what requirements you have to fulfil here (in German). Further information in several languages on the possibilities of immigration to Germany and the respective contact points can be found on the website of the welcome portal Make it in Germany.

Employees subject to social insurance in Germany are generally insured against the greatest risks, such as illness, accidents at work, unemployment or old age. You can also find out what statutory insurances there are and what your entitlements are if you want to move back home on the Make it in Germany website. Further information from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on the subject of social security agreements can be found here.