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Is there a viable and significant benefit for a German software company to hire abroad, other than having a higher-skilled professional for lesser pay? Is it worth the preliminary legal work when a small company hires the first foreigner and doesn't plan to expand in the short term, i.e. the cost won't spread across multiple hires? Perhaps, some sort of tax benefit for the company?

I am a non-resident of Germany and I have an invitation for a job from IT company. They haven't ever hired a foreign worker, which means they will have to prepare all the legal documents that are required for first time. This organization is very small and doesn't have a dedicated legal or HR department. Which means it can be costly for them to hire me, as opposed to a local professional. Is there any benefit for them to have me over a resident of Germany?

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    They might have use for your language skills if they are expanding in markets where your native language is spoken. – Traubenfuchs Jan 21 '16 at 10:07
  • German IT specialists are in short supply, but once they learn how to take the extra steps, they can hire as many foreigners as they need. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." – Alexander Jan 21 '16 at 11:39
  • Simple answer - "yes, if they don't have any German candidates qualified for the position" – HorusKol Jan 21 '16 at 22:21
  • @Lilienthal it's country-specific more than one would think. Each country has its own threshold, pool of possible visas granted, immigration policy and so on. I'd leave the title as it is now, mentioning Germany explicitly. – rishat Jan 22 '16 at 11:21
  • @RishatMuhametshin I was suggesting a retitle for the original title. Someone edited my suggestion in but wisely kept the country reference. – Lilienthal Jan 22 '16 at 11:52
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The best people are in short supply.

Sure, it would almost certainly be easier for them to hire a local, or someone from the european union – less paperwork – but if you're the best qualified for the job, then figuring out how to do the paperwork might well be the best option for them.

After all, they only have to do the paperwork once, and you will hopefully give them years of service.

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They are legally required to first offer the job to EU citizens with unlimited (and visa free) access to the european labour market, unless a foreign applicant has special qualifications that make (permanent or temporary) immigration desirable, or if they (provably) cannot find a suitable candidate.

So their benefit is presumably that they can fill a vacancy that else they could not fill. Plus many companies (IT especially) see "being international" as a value in itself.

edited to add: Since Mario asked for a reference - the most comprehensive introduction to german labour law concerning foreigners I could find is this PDF from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).

It starts by pointing out that working in Germany as a foreigner requires permission by the Bundesanstalt (save exceptions like internships, business trips etc., the complete list of exceptions is detailed later in the document).

Paragraph 1 ("Allgemeines") informs that permission is contingent upon several conditions, notably that (2) there is a specific job offer and (3) that no privileged applicants ("bevorrechtigte Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer") are available for the specific offer and the working conditions are comparable to what would be offered to german citizens (i.e. as an employer you must not try to undercut German wages by hiring foreigners).

The only actual definition of privileged job applicants is pretty much at the end of the document where says that privileged job applicants are "also people who are registered as jobless" ("[auch] Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer die nur mit Förderung der Agentur für Arbeit vermittelt werden können"), but since registering as jobless already requires residency and a working permit this means Germans (and EU citizens, since they enjoy "Freizügigkeit", i.e. free movement within the EU labour market) are preferred.

  • Can you please provide a reference for that? I wasn't aware of such law – Mario Trucco Jan 21 '16 at 17:49
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    @MarioTrucco, I can add references in German, would that help? The actual law is complex beyond what I could hope to express in a foreign language . Germany tries to block unqualified foreign labour (but cannot block EU citizens as this would violate the EU charta). As an IT worker with a job offer at competitive wages the OP would probably qualify for a "blue card" (basically a short cut through the red tape), but in general access to the labour market is limited for non-EU citzens ("Bürger aus Drittstaaten"). – Eike Pierstorff Jan 21 '16 at 19:47
  • Thanks, that would be interesting. I understand some German. I checked bamf.de/DE/Migration/Arbeiten/BuergerDrittstaat/…, but found no direct statement of such required priority for EU workers – Mario Trucco Jan 21 '16 at 20:12
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    @MarioTrucco, I added a link to the brochure of the Bundesanstalt für Arbeit (who are after all in charge of the process, so I think this is sufficient). I do not claim to be an expert on this, so there is a chance I misunderstood something, but then the language seems pretty clear. – Eike Pierstorff Jan 21 '16 at 20:49
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I'm a german citizen, working in a, very small, german IT-Company. Due our small size, everyone knows almost everything thats going on here, thus I know the CEOs perspective on this topic. Our market is international, so I think I could say one or another thing.

The number one reason, for sure, is simple: costs

Depending on the field, experience and region, IT-Guys are considered to be very expensive. With a salary from 30k (very low), over roughly 60-70k as a median up to 200k and more for one software developer.

The number two reason, is, in principle, the same: shortage of skilled professionals

"in principle the same", because the high salary is caused by that shortage. 10 years ago, IT guys where much cheaper.

Roughly 40.000(german) IT jobs are vacant positions, while the trend shows, that these vacant positions are getting more and more (app. 5% per year).

The number three reason is not germany specific: Cultural anchor and linguistic skills

Any Company that wants to push in a new market, needs personell that knows this market.

If a german company wants to go into the mexican market, for example, some mexican employees would help a lot.

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There are a couple of major reasons why OS people are employed.

Firstly they may have exceptional skills and therefore the expense is well worth it.

Secondly and this happens a lot, they have a qualified skillset that is in short supply and come from countries where they're willing to work for less than a local with the same qualifications.

In both instances a foreigner is easier to control than a local because quite often their visa etc,. is dependent on the job, plus a good bonus is you can usually trust them a lot more since they normally do not have any local ties.

In my own country many Filipinos are employed here for this reason and given high trust jobs, they tend to be multi skilled, honest, and keep their heads down and work hard.

  • "you can usually trust them a lot more since they normally do not have any local ties" - how does lack of local ties imply more trust? – Brandin Jan 21 '16 at 11:00
  • They have no other loyalties, so no one can pressure them. They're more dependent on their employer. Probably not much of an issue in Germany, but a huge problem here. – Kilisi Jan 21 '16 at 11:10
  • @Brandin, great question. As soon as I get a local authorization to work, I'm no longer tied to this particular organization, which means they might spend extra money and time hiring abroad and then be left with nothing. – rishat Jan 25 '16 at 15:40
  • @RishatMuhametshin it doesn't work like that in many places, authorisation to work is only a part of the control. Usually a place to live, transport and a bunch of other stuff are involved, as well as the fact that getting a job isn't all that easy just because you're there. Over here you mess up with your employer that bought you in, no one will employ you, you might as well leave. – Kilisi Jan 26 '16 at 6:50

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