10

Here's more detail on my background:

• I'm a US citizen living in Berlin, Germany

• I was issued a Blue Card in November 2015 to work as a 'posted employee' for a US company. The Blue Card is valid until November 2019.

• I am in the German private healthcare system (through Allianz)

• I have a lease on an apartment here in Berlin (not temporary housing--a 'regular' rental contract)

• I have more than sufficient savings in the bank to support myself in Berlin for a year or so (in case immigration authorities would like to see that--not sure if relevant, but I've been told it's something they might ask for)

• As for background: before moving to Berlin, I spent 7 years in San Francisco / Silicon Valley working in product management roles for tech companies.

My current job isn't a good fit for me, and I am going to leave it to search for different job here in Berlin. Ideally, I'd like to take one month off in between jobs to complete an intensive German language course.

My specific question: if I leave my current job before I find a new job in order to take time off and take the language course, will I need to forfeit my Blue Card then 'start from scratch' with regard to getting a work and residence permit? Or will I be able to keep the Blue Card then transfer it to a new company once I find a new job?

I'm trying to determine whether it's worth it to wait to find a new job before leaving my current job so that I can keep my Blue Card.

If handling the situation is complicated, I'll likely end up working with a lawyer, but I am doing some independent research first to see whether hiring a lawyer is necessary.

8

OK, I wasn't able to find an answer to my question through my own research, so I sought out 2 different lawyers and paid each of them about 100 EUR for a consultation (which amounted to an hour in an office reviewing my case and answering any of my specific questions). The price worth it to me for peace of mind and a thorough understanding of my options.

The guidance I received differed between the two, and so I'll break out two separate ways one might handle a 'leaving the job voluntarily' situation as a Blue Card holder in Germany.

First, for context: on this page, the question 'What happens if I lose my job?' section identifies job loss notification requirements for Blue Card holders according to the letter of the law. In terms of the requirements listed here, "losing one's job" and "leaving one's job" is functionally the same.

And to make one other thing clear: I intend to start searching for a new job immediately, and in fact, my application / interview process is already underway.

Without further ado, here's a paraphrase of the legal advice I received.


Lawyer 1: "We'll notify the Ausländerbehörde that you decided to leave your job and that you are currently searching for another one. We should provide them with your CV, a record of your bank savings (to show you're self-sustaining), and interaction you've had with potential employers showing that you're getting requests for interviews--screenshots of emails are suitable here. There is a very, very good chance they'll let you keep the Blue Card (residence permit) and give you 6 months to find another job. There's a very, very small chance they'll ask you to leave the country. Since you're a US citizen, you could always come back in a few months."

Lawyer 2: "Although technically, you're supposed to notify the Ausländerbehörde if you have a Blue Card and leave or lose a job, failing to notify is not a criminal offense! And really, they'd have no recourse against you if you didn't notify. So if you leave your current role, I recommend you continue with your search, don't mention your change in job status to the Ausländerbehörde, and simply go to them with your new work contract when you find a new role here in Berlin. They very likely won't ask any questions or give you a hard time."


There you have it.

Fine print: Although I'm sharing advice that I received from legal professionals, this advice was specific to my set of circumstances, which are almost certainly in some way different from your set of circumstances. So if you have questions about your situation, or especially if you intend to leave a job and notify the Ausländerbehörde, I emphatically recommend hiring a lawyer to help you with the process.

  • Excellent answer! Thank you very much for following up on your own question. – JonathanReez Feb 15 '17 at 10:49
  • Hi @ispoorbutsexy how did things go, changed employers with no problems? – Filipe Miranda Mar 18 '17 at 9:32
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    Hi @FilipeMiranda, I ultimately decided to wait until I was offered a role at a new company before leaving my old job. So this ended up being more of a simple "change the name of the employer" process for me, which required only an hour or so of coordinating with a lawyer who then worked directly with the Ausländerbehörde. – ispoorbutsexy Apr 29 '17 at 6:18
  • Thanks @ispoorbutsexy, and the procedure to change was fast I suppose. How long did it take to change employer's name? – Filipe Miranda Apr 29 '17 at 17:55
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    @FilipeMiranda this name change took about 1.5 weeks after I'd met with a lawyer to start the process, and it only look that long because of availability of an appointment with the Ausländerbehörde. – ispoorbutsexy May 1 '17 at 8:36

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