Red signal for German Green Cards

CIOL Bureau
New Update

TV Mahalingam


BANGALORE: A spokesman for the Frankfurt Economic Development GmBH confirmed today that the German government would be suspending issuance of green cards for foreign tech workers. The Federal decision - to be effective from July 31st — is likely to increase work permit processing time.

The German government began issuing 20,000 green cards every year in August 2000 to speed the processing of visa applications. The two-year program was extended once more year last year. But the German government has decided not extend the program this time around. Now, tech workers will have to apply for standard work visas, which can take up to three months to process. Green Cards, on the other hand, are issued in about two weeks. The move is likely to increase the pain for Indian companies in terms of increased time for processing work permits and closing deals. It is believed that the decision was triggered by the slump in Germany's IT sector.

In 2001 a German delegation led by then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had come to Bangalore for the express purpose of selling Germany as an attractive destination for Indian software professionals. As the US downturn continued unabated Indian IT services providers had been increasingly looking to Europe for topline growth.

Germany’s interest in Indian technology workers was also reiterated as recently as October last year during Bangalore IT.Com when the German Consul for Southern India had spoken to the Indian media about the new streamlining of processes for green card applicants.


So far about, 13,600 Green Card work permits are believed to have been given out to non-German technology professionals — mostly from India and Russia.

Even as operations of Indian IT Services exporters are likely to be affected by this move, no official explanation has as yet been given for this move. A CII delegation, aimed at improving bilateral trade relations, was in Frankfurt in February this year and included IT heads like Infosys’ NR Narayana Murthy, Satyam’s Ramalinga Raju and Zensar’s Ganesh Natarajan. It is not known if the delegation knew of this move by the German government.

A Frankfurt delegation meeting with the media later this week is likely to throw some more light on the matter.