Employed people: Visas for Russian skilled workers: Berlin is speeding up the process

gainfully employed
Visas for Russian skilled workers: Berlin is speeding up the process

The German Embassy in Moscow is increasingly issuing work permits to Russian professionals. Photo: picture alliance / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

There are currently no direct flights. Nevertheless, a number of Russian specialists decide to switch jobs to Germany. This is also a consequence of the sanctions.

Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, hundreds of professionals from Russia have chosen to relocate to Germany.

Above all, employees of German companies, who face an uncertain professional future because of the sanctions imposed on Russia, decide to take this step.

“In April, around 350 visas for the purpose of gainful employment were issued to Russian nationals in Moscow,” according to the Foreign Office. In Saint Petersburg, the German consulate general issued 190 work visas in the same period. According to dpa information, the majority of the skilled workers leaving the country had already worked for a German company in Russia.

Demand meets willingness on the part of the authorities

“In the weeks since the beginning of the war, we have provided support for more than 400 applications for work visas from Russian citizens who want to come to Germany,” says Katharina Vorländer, a lawyer at the law firm Fragomen Global LLP in Frankfurt am Main, which specializes in labor migration. Around 30 percent of these applicants are already in Germany.

This was only possible at this speed because there was “support from the German authorities in this special situation, which we don’t necessarily always experience otherwise”. For example, the Federal Foreign Office, in consultation with the German Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate General in St. Petersburg, offered collective appointments for applications for sometimes several dozen employees of a company, “which we were happy to accept,” reports the lawyer. Since there is currently no postal service from Germany to Russia to send original documents, the embassy and consulate have agreed to dispense with originals in individual cases and accept documents submitted by e-mail.

So that the approval of the Federal Employment Agency, which is required for visas for employed persons, does not have to be obtained individually in each case, the Federal Employment Agency, in coordination with the Federal Government, has issued a “global approval for the labor market admission for all Russian skilled workers who are to be continued to be employed in Germany by their previous employer » granted. It is valid until the end of September.

“The initiative usually comes from the companies, some of which are moving entire departments to Germany,” says lawyer Vorländer. This applies, among other things, to corporations from the IT and automotive sectors, but also to some medium-sized companies.

More than 600 visas for Russian professionals

According to a spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office, more than 600 visas for Russian specialists were issued between the beginning of the war and the beginning of May. The visas for gainful employment are national visas that allow a longer stay, not so-called Schengen visas that allow a stay of up to 90 days in Germany and the Schengen area.

Only a few of the employees of German companies who now want to move from Russia to Germany have previous knowledge of the German language, says Vorländer. For some jobs, such as programmers, this is probably not a big hurdle. “We notice when we call people in Russia that the situation is not easy for the individual employees either,” reports the lawyer. “The tension is palpable, because it’s often about leaving the family with us.”

The protection of the constitution sees an increased risk of industrial espionage because of the sanctions imposed on Russia. The Russian economy is being cut off from know-how and technologies, writes the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in a current security advisory. There is a risk that there could be more attempts to initiate contacts, especially by employees in branches of industry and research relevant to Russia, also in Germany. Employees with Russian nationality are particularly at risk.


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