Residence Act

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Basic data
Title: Law on the residence, employment and integration of foreigners in the federal territory
Short title: Residence Act
Abbreviation: Residence Act
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Administrative law
References : 26-12
Original version from: July 30, 2004
( Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1950 )
Entry into force on: January 1, 2005
New announcement from: February 25, 2008
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 162 )
Last change by: Art. 169 Regulation of June 19, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328, 1348 )
Effective date of the
last change:
June 27, 2020
(Art. 361 of June 19, 2020)
Weblink: Text of the law
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Residence Act contains the essential legal bases for the entry, exit and residence of foreigners in Germany . Union citizens who are entitled to freedom of movement and their family members as well as some special groups of foreigners (e.g. diplomats, NATO members) are not covered by the Residence Act. It has been in force since January 1, 2005 and replaces the Aliens Act . The Residence Act, as its Article 1, is the main component of the Immigration Act .

Legal practice

Some changes compared to the Aliens Act, which was in effect until December 31, 2004:

  • Abolition of the previously four different types of residence permits in favor of two " residence titles ", namely the settlement permit (unlimited, regardless of a "purpose" of the stay) and the residence permit (limited, always granted depending on a purpose of stay.) The hoped-for simplification of the Immigration law is doubtful, however, as there are at least twelve different types of residence permit, which differ significantly.
  • Stricter conditions for deportation in the course of the so-called anti-terror legislation. Human smugglers have been included as a new compelling reason for deportation .
  • Introduction of " integration courses ", some of which are mandatory.
  • A legal basis for the introduction of hardship commissions at the state level was created.
  • Work permits are now issued by the immigration authorities (with the participation of the employment agency). (So ​​called "one stop government".)
  • The Residence Act extends the humanitarian regulations of the Geneva Refugee Convention (GRC) to include the recognition of gender-specific and non-state persecution. Persecution because of belonging to a certain social group can also exist if there is a threat to life, physical integrity or freedom because of gender. Section 60 (1) of the Residence Act recognizes not only state but also non-state actors.

Contrary to the first draft laws of the Süssmuth Commission , no “points system” was created for potential immigrants. The toleration ( § 60a - Temporary suspension of deportation) was not abolished, however it was introduced a scheme under which foreigners who so far " chain toleration received", now a residence and later a settlement permit can get. This means that two projects originally designated as central by the federal government were not included in the law.

Changes since launch

Change 2007

On August 28, 2007, following an evaluation of the Immigration Act, far-reaching changes to the Residence Act came into force through the Act on the Implementation of Residence and Asylum Directives of the European Union of August 19, 2007 ( Federal Law Gazette 2007 I p. 1970 ).

Change 2013

With the change on September 6, 2013, every holder of a residence permit for family reunification is now entitled to pursue gainful employment, Section 27 (5) of the Residence Act. Previously, this permit was linked to the extent of the employment permit of the person to whom the family reunification took place.

Change in 2016

With the Data Exchange Improvement Act , which came into force on February 7, 2016, changes were made to the Residence Act. With the inclusion of the new Section 73, Paragraph 1a of the Residence Act, the possibility of data transmission to the Federal Intelligence Service , the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service , the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Customs Criminal Police Office for "determining reasons for refusal according to the Asylum Act and the Residence Act" and "for examination of other security concerns "created. In addition, a comparison with other databases of the Federal Office of Administration should be made possible.

Overview of further changes

Further significant changes to the Residence Act were made by the

Practice of the federal states

The execution and interpretation of the Residence Act is primarily the responsibility of the countries that implement the law through their immigration authorities as a separate matter. Many countries have delegated the execution to the municipalities .

The Refugee Councils of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia have observed a large number of refusals of previously granted work permits, which they interpret as a result of “one-stop government”.

The Residence Act allows deportations to be suspended for a maximum of six months. The SPD-ruled Schleswig-Holstein and the Left Party-led Thuringia imposed a blanket winter deportation freeze at the end of 2014. The Federal Minister of the Interior criticized Schleswig-Holstein for abandoning the business basis of the asylum compromise with the winter deportation freeze. At the end of November, the federal and state governments agreed on refugee aid worth billions, which will be borne by the federal government. In return, the federal states assured that they would decisively enforce the obligation to leave the country.


On the basis of the authorization to issue ordinances under the Residence Act, the following ordinances were issued:

Internal regulations

A uniform federal administrative regulation for the Residence Act has been in place since October 26, 2009. With the general administrative regulation for the Residence Act, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has given application instructions for official practice. This establishes binding standards for the authorities for filling out indefinite legal terms and existing discretion.

This counteracts a practice that works and decides very differently depending on the country and immigration authorities as well as the diplomatic mission abroad. Everything essential for the decision is summarized in the administrative regulations. In practice, the administrative regulation serves as an interpretation aid for the employees of the immigration authorities. This makes the work of the immigration authorities and diplomatic missions abroad considerably easier and more efficient. It is believed that this ensures that the applicable law is applied as intended by the legislature. The administrative regulations were not issued by the legislature itself, but by the executive (federal government), albeit with the consent of the Bundesrat in accordance with Article 84, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Overview of the evaluation of the Immigration Act and the EU Directive Implementation Act
  2. Andrea Voßhoff: Statement by the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information on the Data Exchange Improvement Act. Andrea Voßhoff, January 4, 2016, accessed on May 17, 2016 .
  3. Thuringian government issues a ban on deportation
  4. Berlin and Kiel: Deportation stop causes trouble ( Memento from December 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  5. See web links.