Change on Policy on Residence Permits for Local Staff of Diplomatic Missions

Monday 23 November 2015 - in News

Contrary to the former practice of the Immigration Office of Berlin (Ausländerbehörde Berlin) residence permits are now issued to locally hired Non-EU nationals working at diplomatic missions in Germany even if they possess no or only a non-renewable residence permit at the time of their application.

As the result of administrative opposition proceedings filed and proceeded by Mr. Martin Bernhardt, the Immigration office of Berlin has undergone a complete shift away from their long-standing practice of the refusal of residence permits for locally hired staff of diplomatic or general consular representations in Germany. The appellant applied for a residence permit for employment at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Berlin on April 6th 2014. In line with its previous legal opinion the Immigration Office of Berlin refused to issue the residence permit with reference to a legal exemption from the requirement of residence permits for local foreign staff of embassies in Germany.

Under the involvement of the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Employment Agency the Immigration Office followed the opposite legal position of Mr. Bernhardt on November 20th 2015.

As a result, locally hired staff can now obtain a residence permit for the exercise of their activities at diplomatic missions and thus can strengthen their stay in Germany. They no longer need to refer to the application of a mere protocol ID issued by the Federal Foreign Office.

The new administrative practice of the Immigration Office is of fundamental importance for locally hired foreign employees of diplomatic missions in Germany. In particular, foreigners which are already resident in Germany have a great interest in obtaining a respective residence permit, since only this enables the subsequent solidification of their stay in form of a permanent residence permit. In contrast, a protocol ID does not entitle the foreigner to obtain a permanent residence permit even after more than five years of stay in Germany. The change of the legal opinion by the Immigration Office of Berlin forced by the opposition proceedings therefore represents a considerable improvement of the legal status of locally hired foreigners of diplomatic missions in Germany.