Easier access to the labor market for citizens from the Western Balkans is extended

The regulation in § 26 paragraph 2 Employment Regulation (BeschV) with the so-called Western Balkans regulation is to be extended. The regulation is currently limited until the end of 2020 and has developed into an intensively used route for legal labor migration since it came into force in 2016.

Employers in the construction and hospitality industries in particular make intensive use of the opportunity to recruit employees. In 2019, the foreign missions in the states of the Western Balkans Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia issued over 27,000 visas for the purpose of taking up employment in accordance with § 26 paragraph 2 BeschV.

Today, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Sixth Regulation to amend the Employment Regulation. This is intended to extend the so-called "Western Balkans Regulation" until 2023. This allows citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to enter Germany for employment irrespective of formal qualifications. A new quota for up to 25,000 persons per year will be introduced.

The size of the quota is based on the number of workers who took up employment here last year under the Western Balkans regime. In order to grant its approval, the Federal Employment Agency checks whether domestic workers or workers from the European Union are available for the respective job (priority check) and whether the employment conditions are equivalent. These instruments serve to control the quota and protect domestic workers. The Bundesrat must approve the new regulation. The submission to the Bundesrat is scheduled for October 9, 2020. Once the Bundesrat has given its approval, the regulation should come into force on January 1, 2021.