Changing jobs while having EU Blue Card in Germany is a bit confusing. In 2020, I switched jobs in Berlin while holding a EU Blue Card. I will write about my experience, and an alternative way on what you need to do to change jobs and what to do with a change of employer.
EU Blue Cards are issued for a maximum of four years (in cases of a permanent contract), or until your temporary contract expires. You receive the residence permit and a Zusatzblatt (Supplementary sheet in Green color) which has your employer's name and your job title.
Note: If you are changing jobs or taking a break between jobs, make sure to file for a tax refund later. You are more likely to receive money back.
There are two categories under which an EU Blue Card holder usually falls under:
Have worked in Germany with EU Blue Card for at least 2 years
You don't need to inform the German authorities about switching your job.
Changing jobs in less than 2 years of holding an EU Blue Card
Changing Jobs with EU Blue Card under 2 years
If your employment in Germany with EU Blue card is under 2 years, you have to keep several things in mind:
You have to get permission for your local German authorities
You must have an employment contract from your new employer
Your new job must be of similar profession as mentioned on your Blue Card / Zusatzblatt
You must meet the requirements for the EU Blue Card again (see below)
You must submit an application at your local Foreigners Office (Landesamt für Einwanderung / Ausländerbehörde)
Overall, the Authorities want to ensure you are in a suitable role related to your previous profession, or studies, and that you are paid fairly.
Requirements for an EU Blue Card
From BAMF, these are the requirements for an EU Blue Card
You are a graduate: If you did not acquire your degree in Germany, it must either be recognised or comparable to a German degree. Information on the equivalence and recognition of foreign degrees is available at www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de.
You have an employment contract or a binding job offer.
You have a minimum annual gross salary of 56,400 Euros. A reduced minimum annual gross salary of 43,992 Euros applies to employment in the occupational fields of mathematics, computer science, the natural sciences, engineering and human medicine (not including dentistry) (as of 2022 - the salary thresholds are readjusted for each calendar year).
The employment must match the qualification.
Documents required for changing jobs
Form "Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis Stellenbeschreibung" filled out - You can find this on your local authorities office website
Copy of the work / employment contract (a draft is enough)
Passport - If you apply in writing, submit copies of your passport as well.
Certificate of registration at the main residence (Anmeldung) or
lease and written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord
Several people mentioned that they were not asked about Anmeldung or confirmation from their landlord, this could be optional.
There are no costs involved for amending your EU Blue Card for a change of employers.
Appointments for changing an employer
Here is a list of some places where you can find appointments and more information on changing your employer.
For Berlin, read here on finding appointments at Ausländerbehörde in Berlin.
Changing Jobs with EU Blue Card without approval
From Berlin's page about changing employers:
You have already worked for at least two years with a residence permit for the purpose of employment or
you have resided continuously in Germany for at least three years with a residence permit (except for study)
in addition, no time limit is fixed by law for your type of employment (such as, for example, in the case of speciality chefs or within the framework of an exchange of personnel of an internationally operating company).
You can then move to another skilled employment without prior approval. The Foreigners Registration Office will provide you with written confirmation of this on request. In this case, you can change employers without permission or approval as you would do for any job.
If you are leaving your job, read how to resign in Germany.
Changing employer's name on EU Blue Card
If your employer has remained the same, but the name has changed, you don't have to change your EU Blue Card or Zusatzblatt.
Is it tied to an employer?
Your blue card is not exactly tied to an employer. It is rather tied to a profession. If you want to change or switch jobs, you can do it - as long as it is of a profession that you are qualified to work in. For this, you need to show proof to the foreigner's office that the new job is suitable to your profession and that they pay fairly.
Quicker processing time for changing jobs on EU Blue Card
The overall processing time for changing jobs on EU Blue Card can take from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. This is quite long, however you can make use of services to improve the processing time.
In Berlin, your employer can reach out to Business Immigration Service or here directly. In other cities, the best way would be to submit all the documents you have at once, to ensure there are no delays. This is typically the quicker way to get this sorted.
If you receive no response via email, the best way would be to send a registered mail (Einschreiben) which requires an acknowledgement of receival of the letter.
Can I apply for Blue Card Visa outside of Germany?
If it's your first job in Germany, you can get your a temporary residence permit or visa in your country. Once you are in Germany, book an appointment at your Ausländerbehörde, apply for a Blue Card or a longer work permit.
Certain citizenships allow you to enter Germany and then find a job. In this case, you can apply for your work permit directly in Germany.
Does sick leave count towards the 2 year period?
Yes. If you fall long-term sick in the first 2 years of employment, this time counts towards the 2 year period. Your pension contributions will be covered by your employer and / or your health insurance.
Do I need to inform my health insurance?
When you change employers - if there is a gap between the start date of your new job and now, definitely inform your health insurance about the change. Otherwise, you can simply let your new employer know about your insurance provider and they will take care of it.