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Norway, Slovakia, and Germany Announce Work Entry Quotas for Foreigners in 2024: What You Need to Know


Amidst the labour shortages that the EU/EEA is dealing with, some nations have decided to shape their strategies to address workforce deficits and accommodate foreign workers.

While many EU/EEA countries need skilled, highly qualified, and seasonal workers, just some of them have disclosed their annual quotas for this year.

In an attempt to help its industries deal with shortages, Norway plans to issue up to 6,000 residence permits for skilled workers throughout the year.

Germany will also issue 25,000 permits for foreign workers this year, whereas Slovakia will issue national visas, with the country having the quota set to 7,000.

Anticipating an increase in demand, other EU countries are also expected to issue a high number of work permits or visas in the coming months, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Nevertheless, given the fluctuating needs of certain sectors, some countries have opted against specific quotas, preferring instead to issue permits based on immediate demand.

Norway’s Annual Quota for Residence Permits for Skilled Workers Set to 6,000 for 2024

The Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion disclosed for SchengenVisaInfo that the country will issue up to 6,000 residence permits for skilled workers this year.

The same stressed that the permits will be issued under a simplified procedure. This means that those eligible for the permit will not have to undergo strict rules.

The annual quota of residence permits for skilled workers following a simplified procedure is set to 6,000 in 2024.

Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion

Norway is one of the countries that has been dealing with shortages in some sectors. For this reason, to meet its labour needs, the country has decided to issue up to 6,000 permits to foreigners this year.

While Norway applies a simplified procedure for skilled foreign workers, the streamlined process does not extend to other types of workers.

Norway stressed that it primarily aims to fulfil the needs of other workers by tapping into its own population resources and by prioritising labour immigration from the EEA.

This means that Norway will first assess whether certain positions can be filled by Norwegians or citizens of other EEA countries. If not, employers in the country can then start the process of bringing foreign non-skilled workers to Norway.

Employers may recruit necessary professional expertise from third countries, but without displacing domestic labour or labour from the EEA. As a general rule, therefore, an individual labour market assessment of whether the position can be filled by domestic or EEA labour must be carried out.

Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion

Slovakia Will Issue 2,000 National Visas for Skilled Workers & 3,000 Nationals Visas for Highly Qualified Workers in 2024

Differently from Norway, which has a quota only for skilled workers, Slovakia has revealed that the country has a quota for both skilled workers and highly qualified workers.

Slovakia’s Ministry of Labour said for SchengenVisaInfo that throughout this year, the country will grant long-term visas to up to 2,000 skilled workers.

The country has already allocated 200 out of the 2,000 spots for bus drivers. The remaining visas will be granted to international transport drivers and domestic transport drivers.

The Slovak Republic will grant national visas to selected groups of third-country nationals in the professions of bus drivers with 200 national visas, heavy-duty truck drivers (international transport), and heavy-duty truck drivers (domestic transport) with 2,000 national visas in the year 2024.

Slovakia’s Ministry of Labour

Regarding highly qualified foreigners, the Ministry of Labour of Slovakia said that the country will issue 3,000 national visas to this group of workers this year.

While the Ministry did not reveal which highly qualified foreign workers are most wanted in the country, it is believed that it mainly wants to attract healthcare professionals, information technology specialists, and technicians, among others.

2,000 National Visas Will Also Be Issued for Some Selected Industrial Professions

In addition to these two groups of foreign workers, the Ministry revealed that the country has also allocated 2,000 national visas for some selected industrial professions.

According to the Ministry, individuals eligible for the 2,000 national visas include equipment operators in the metallurgical industry, machine operators in rubber product manufacturing, assembly workers in machinery production, assembly workers in chemical, rubber, and plastic production, operators of electronic devices, forklift operators, metal welders, CNC machine setters, metal machinists, construction and operational technicians, as well as maintenance workers.

Based on the data provided by the Ministry, Slovakia will issue up to 7,000 national visas to foreign workers this year, with highly qualified workers being the most wanted in the country.

Germany Has a Maximum 25,000 Work Permit Quota for This Year

Germany has also revealed the work permit quota for this year. The Federal Foreign Office of Germany disclosed for SchengenVisaInfo that the country will issue a maximum of 25,000 work permits to foreigners in 2024.

As for work visas, the country said that there are no general quotas for this type of document.

There are no general quotas for work visas to Germany, with the exception of a (global) maximum quota of 25,000 work permits for applications.

German Federal Foreign Office

Germany Introduces 50,000 Annual Quota for Western Balkans Nationals From June 2024

In addition to the above-mentioned, the Federal Foreign Office confirmed once again that starting in June 2024, Germany will have an annual quota of 50,000 approvals for nationals of the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

As for the period before June, the Federal Foreign Office said that the country has a maximum quota of 25,000 until May 31, 2024.

A maximum yearly quota of 25.000 (until 31.05.2024) / 50.000 (from 01.06.2024 onwards; the overall possible amount for 2024 will therefore be about 39.584) for applications.

German Federal Foreign Office

Under the Western Balkans regulation, nationals of these five countries will be offered access to Germany’s labour market for a wide range of occupations.

The scheme, under which 50,000 nationals of the Western Balkan countries will be able to enter Germany for work purposes each year, is managed by the Federal Employment Agency.

The decision to allow such a high number of workers from the Western Balkan to access the labour market in Germany has been taken in an attempt to help the country deal with the shortages in various sectors.

As for the total quota for foreign workers, Germany has not yet shared any official data. However, the country is expected to issue a high number of work visas to nationals of other third countries, too, especially Brazil, with which Germany has already concluded an agreement.

Slovenia Has Not Been Implementing Quotas in Over 10 Years

While some EU/EEA countries decide to have quotas for foreign workers, the case is not the same for Slovenia.

The Slovenian Ministry of Labour said for SchengenVisaInfo that despite having the option to do so, the country has not been implementing quotas for foreign workers in more than ten years.

The same authority stressed that the country assesses the labour needs and then decides on a controlled manner to hire foreigners.

The Republic of Slovenia has the option, based on the  Employment, Self-Employment, and Work of Foreigners Act, to introduce quotas for issued authorisations to access the labour market, but for more than ten years, the Republic of Slovenia has not implemented quotas.

Slovenia’s Ministry of Labour

The Ministry has also warned against unauthorised employment in Slovenia. The authority said that foreigners can work in Slovenia only if they have authorisation to access the labour market.

Hungary Wants to Limit Number of Foreign Workers

To give priority to citizens of the country, Hungary has decided to limit the number of foreign workers that will be allowed to take up jobs.

As the Hungarian Ministry of Economy has revealed, the government has decided to limit the number of work and residence permits issued to foreigners to 65,000 for 2024.

The government has also decided not to permit the employment of foreign workers in around 300 occupations.

The government decided to maximize the maximum number of guest worker residence permits and residence permits for employment at 65,000 in 2024. It also defined the approximately 300 occupations in which guest worker residence permits cannot be employed by third-country nationals.

Hungarian Ministry of Economy

By regulating the number of foreign workers that can enter the country for work purposes this year and by limiting the occupations they can take, Hungary wants to allow Hungarians to be employed first.

In cases when certain job positions cannot be filled by Hungarian nationals, the country will then allow the employment of foreigners.

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