November 2023: 9 changes affecting expats in Germany
2023 is quickly slipping through our fingers, but the second last month of the year brings the beginning of one of the most exciting changes for anyone hoping to move to Germany in the new year.
1. First part of the new skilled worker law will be adopted
The first part of Germany’s long-awaited skilled worker law will finally be adopted in November 2023. This initial stage will be implemented on November 18 and will allow non-EU nationals with a vocational qualification or university degree to take on a job in Germany, regardless of whether the position is directly related to their qualification.
There will also be changes to how the EU Blue Card works in Germany. This includes a reduction of the salary threshold that people need to meet to be eligible for a Blue Card. Additionally, people with Blue Cards from other EU countries will be able to come to Germany for work-related trips for a maximum of 90 days without needing a visa.
If they decide they like it in Germany, anyone who holds a Blue Card from another EU country which is at least one year old, will be able to come to the federal republic and work here long-term without applying for an additional visa. Germany is set to adopt the next phases of the law, including the Chancenkarte (Opportunity Card) in March and June 2024.
2. Application deadlines to get a tax reduction for 2023
November 30 is the deadline to submit your application for a Lohnsteuerermäßigung (wage tax reduction) that will retroactively apply to the whole of 2023. If your application is accepted you will already receive a larger percentage of your wages in your bank account this November and December.
If you’d like to get organised for 2024 you can also already apply for a Lohnsteuerermäßigung for next year. If that application is accepted you will pay less tax on your income over the course of the new year.
3. ID pick-up process will be further digitised
This is not a piece of news we share often, but an administrative process in Germany is (hopefully) about to get easier…? From November 1, anyone who has applied for a new ID card, residence permit card or German passport should hypothetically be able to pick up their new document from a machine.
The process, which previously required having to book an appointment and sign to confirm your receipt of the document, will now be possible with a letter, a PIN code and a machine. Once you have applied for your document you will receive a PIN code by post telling you that it is ready, you can then go to the collection machine at your local Amt, put in your letter’s PIN code and hey presto.
4. Dual citizenship law will see its first reading
Germany's new, modernised citizenship law is set to move into the next stage of legislative proceedings next month. The first reading has been scheduled for either November 9 or 10.
“Reading” in this context means debating, and this debating phase of the legislative process will have three key stages. Between the first and second readings, a special committee will be designated to the bill, which will then be in charge of organising public hearings to further discuss the law and make any recommendations.
Finally, the law will be voted on at the end of the third reading. If all this goes to plan, people in Germany can expect the new citizenship law to be enforced from April 2024. Until then, you can count on us to keep you posted on all the latest developments.
5. Building disruption and possible Deutsche Bahn strikes
Like most months, November will see a series of rail maintenance works disrupt public transport. You can check out live updates to the line changes on the DB website.
Additionally, the industrial peace agreement from Germany’s Union of Train Drivers (GDL) is set to elapse at the end of October, and pay negotiations will begin again in November, meaning strikes might be on the table.
6. New emergency alert channel will launch in Germany
Germany loves a warning day, confusing everyone whose phones start bleeping while alarm bells ring out across the towns and cities. Upping the ante since failures of its existing systems were revealed in the wake of the 2021 floods, the country is set to launch an additional warning method for emergencies.
On November 1, the 919 broadcast channel will launch. In an emergency, the channel will be able to send messages to old and new mobile phones alike, but users must register for the broadcast in advance in their mobile phone notification settings.
7. Deadline to change car insurance provider
The November 30 deadline is fast approaching for you to change your German car insurance!
The German car insurance market is fairly competitive, so it is worth shopping around to search for the best deals. A price comparison website can help you make a decision. It is usually possible to take out a policy online, by supplying a few personal details, such as the number of your driving licence and your bank account.
That said, the German Automobile Club advises those perusing other deals to read the fine print since some “better deals” don’t include certain kinds of claims.
8. Meta to launch ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram
Starting in November, Facebook and Instagram users in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will have the option to pay to use Meta's platforms ad-free.
Android and iOS users can expect to pay 13 euros a month for access on their mobile phones or 9,99 for access on a desktop. This new fee will let users pay once to use all of their Meta-provided accounts without ads, until March 2024, when the US company will start charging users 6 euros for each additional account.
The new system is due to a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that Meta must get consent from users before showing them ads in order to adhere to EU data privacy laws.
9. Disney+ subscription costs will go up
Another thing is going up in price. This time, it’s home entertainment.
From November, Disney+ customers in Germany can expect to pay 11,99 euros per month for a premium subscription, 8,99 for standard and 5,99 for standard with advertising.
Thumb image credit: Postmodern Studio / Shutterstock.com