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Immigration to the European Union by people from non-EU countries

September 26, 2016

Immigration to the European Union for the purpose of employment is subject to conditions. Further information is available about access to the German labour market.

A man holding two passports in his hand.
Source:  iStock

Legal framework

Article 79 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that the European Union (EU) shall develop a common immigration policy. This policy aims to ensure the efficient management of migration flows, fair treatment of third-country nationals residing legally in EU Member States, and the prevention of, and enhanced measures to combat, illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings. For example, the Council and the European Parliament adopt measures to define the rights of third-country nationals residing legally in a Member State, as set out in Article 79 (2) b) TFEU. Under Article 79 (5) TFEU, Member States have the right to determine how many third-country nationals may enter their territory in order to seek work, whether employed or self-employed.

Examples of avenues to access under EU law

The website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is the lead ministry for the immigration of third-country nationals, has a page offering a brief overview of EU legislation in this field to date.

The Directives listed in this overview also contain provisions relating to the scope and design of labour market access for specific groups (e.g. for highly skilled workers, researchers and academics, seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees) and their social rights.

Avenues to access may also be created by an association agreement.

Working in Germany

If you are a third-country national who would like to work in Germany, information is available here about the conditions you must meet. Further information about the possibilities of migrating to Germany and relevant contact points is available in several languages on the Make it in Germany portal.

If you are in a job with compulsory social insurance coverage, you are in principle insured against the biggest risks in life, such as illness, accidents at work, unemployment or old age. The types of statutory insurance and your entitlements if you choose to return to your home country are also set out on the Make it in Germany website. Information from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on the subject of social security agreements can be found here.