By Peregrine

Work authorisation processing delays are expected in Germany as many labour office employees have been removed from their usual duties to help the immigration authorities process record numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the country.

Additionally, border controls introduced in the last week by some EU member states may lead to delays for travellers entering or leaving these countries, with more countries considering taking similar action.

German Authorities Swamped
The Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge or BAMF) is increasingly overwhelmed by a backlog of more than 250,000 asylum cases, and processing delays for combined work and residence permit applications should be expected.

The regional work permit teams of the German International Placement Service (ZAV), who are now being diverted to assist BAMF, are usually responsible for processing work authorisation applications.

This employment authorisation is required in support of an application for a residence permit for employment, and also in support of a D visa for employment, which allows the holder to start work before their combined work and residence permit has been issued. The staff diversion is expected to lead to delays in both current and upcoming work authorisation applications.

“Preferred” nationals (nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States) have the option of entering Germany without a visa, but cannot start work until their combined work and residence permit has been issued.

Border Controls
Border controls have been temporarily reintroduced by Germany on its border with Austria (as of 13 September), Austria on its border with Hungary (as of 15 September) and Slovenia on its border with Hungary (as of 17 September). These border closures, checkpoints and patrols have already caused significant traffic jams and cancelled train services

The temporary reintroduction of border controls between EU member states is allowed by the Schengen Borders Code, in the exceptional case of a serious threat to public policy or internal security.

Action Items

  • Applicants for visas and residence permits for Germany should take into account longer than usual processing times.
  • Preferred nationals should consider obtaining a D visa at the relevant German consulate, in advance of travelling to Germany, so that they can start work on arrival, without waiting for the residence permit to be issued.
  • Travellers entering Germany, Austria and Slovenia at certain borders should be aware of the strong possibility of delays.