In principle, every employee who would like to work in Germany requires a residence title and a work permit before entering Germany. This does not apply to persons who are: 1) of German nationality; 2) a European Union national (with the exception of nationals from Croatia currently until June 30, 2015; this exception can be extended until June 30, 2020 at the most); or 3) a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) member state (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Switzerland.
Residence title and work permit are granted together as a “residence title for the purpose of employment”. Such title is generally only granted if: 1) the employment office agrees or such consent is not required due to statutory regulations; 2) the examination of the employment market by the employment office shows that a job offer may not be filled by the German employment market including EU and EEA nationals (“job market test”); and 3) there is a concrete job offer with usual working conditions (draft of employment contract should be attached).
Several types of employees are exempt from the consent and the job market test of the employment office, including: 1) highly qualified persons (e.g. scientists with specific professional knowledge); 2) executives (e.g. board members, managing directors); and 3) employees on a short-term deployment of up to three months within a one-year-period.