Interested in hiring a candidate from Afghanistan to join your company in Germany? This article will cover the essential information related to the visa application process and relocation.
Diplomatic relations between Germany and Afghanistan have been suspended since August 2021; consequently, there is currently no German embassy in the country. In the interim, visa applications can be submitted at the German embassies in the following locations:
- Islamabad, Pakistan
- Teheran, Iran
However, the visa appointment cannot be booked directly through the embassy website. This is only possible for Pakistani or Iranian nationals. For Afghan nationals it is necessary to visit the German embassy website of Afghanistan and register on the waiting list. The reason is that Afghan nationals are deprioritized and their appointment applications are handled separately from other applicants. Waiting times via this process are around 12 months.
What can be done to speed up the process?
It is recommended to apply for the accelerated process for skilled workers based on §81a at the local immigration office in Germany.* Via this process, Afghan applicants are treated within the same timeframe as any other applicant.
The waiting times vary by city, but it usually takes between two to four months until a pre-approval from the immigration office is sent to the German embassy in either Iran or Pakistan. They then by law need to schedule an appointment for the applicant within three to four weeks. The visa is issued approximately two weeks after the appointment takes place.
*The process costs 411€ and the fee must be paid directly to the immigration office.
What is important to consider when doing the §81a skilled worker process for Afghan applicants?
For applicants who are eligible for the Blue Card (requirement is holding a recognized university degree and having a minimum salary of 56.000€ or 44.304€ for shortage occupations like IT professionals) there are no specific criteria that need to be considered.
If the applicant’s university degree is not recognized in the anabin database, it is necessary to do the individual degree recognition with the ZAB. This means sending degree documents via postal mail to the ZAB office in Bonn, Germany.
Note: Currently it is not possible to send documents from Afghanistan abroad!
The applicant must already be outside of the country (ideally in Pakistan or Iran in order to apply for the visa at the later stage), or know someone who they could give the documents to in order to send it from Pakistan or Iran, for instance.
What if a university degree cannot be recognized or the candidate does not hold a degree?
Typically, if the candidate does not hold a degree, the §81a skilled worker process, which requires a university degree, cannot be applied for. However, it is possible to request an official statement from the Härtefall Kommission of the local ministry of interior stating that there is a public interest of the candidate to be working in Germany. Having such a letter would permit the application based on §81a even without a university degree.
Can Afghan candidates relocate with their family to Germany?
If the candidate is eligible for the Blue Card, it is possible to include the family members (spouse and children) in the application for the §81a skilled workers process. If the applicant is not Blue Card eligible, the spouse would usually be required to provide an A1 level German language certificate for the visa application.
However, an exception can be made by claiming that the applicant is entirely without the means to furnish the certificate. Applicants from Afghanistan can make this claim, as there are no German language institutions in Afghanistan at the moment.
It’s important to note, however, that the authorities at the immigration office and the embassy have the final say, based on their discretion, as to whether the documents provided meet the necessary requirements for the visa application.
Additional information to consider
To enter either Pakistan or Iran, Afghan candidates need a visa for either of the countries. It’s possible to obtain both. Currently, it’s easier to get a visa for Pakistan, but candidates who live closer to the Iranian border might wish to apply for an Iranian visa and cross the border safely there. These visas are often issued in approximately two or three months.
As the visa needs to be valid when applying for the German visa, it is advisable to get a visa for Pakistan or Iran only after the documents for the German visa application are prepared. Also keep in mind that If the ZAB degree evaluation is necessary, the overall process time increases by approximately one month.
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