Koch in der Küche

The demand for international culinary specialities is steadily increasing in Germany, although until now dishes of equal quality as in a parental kitchen are rarely to be found. Therefore, the possibility for foreign speciality cooks to live and work here in Germany is all the more pleasing. However, the legal situation in Germany with regard to the issue of Visa for employment as a specialty cook can occasionally confuse both the applicants and employers concerned.


Legal conditions for speciality cooks

The authorization of a residence permit for the exercise of employment in Germany is determined for foreign citizens from non-EU-member states in accordance with § 18 II of the Residence Act. In this article, special attention is to be paid to the provisions and conditions according to which the stay as a speciality cook is determined by § 11 II of the Employment Regulation. The maximum length of stay for employment as a speciality cook according to § 11 II BeschV in Germany is four years. The first approval of the application is initially for one year and gives the authority an opportunity to check the circumstances under which employment as a speciality cook is exercised.

In order to obtain such an employment permit, both the general and the subject-specific requirements for specialty cooks must be met, both on the employer’s side and personally by the applicant:


Restaurants must be of high class and offer local specialities, linked to a specific country or region. The name, furnishings and ambience must be typical of the country in question. In addition, a maximum of two specialty cooks may be employed; an additional specialty cook is only permitted if needed, demonstrated by e.g. documents from the tax consultant.


An applicant as a speciality cook must be a citizen of the restaurant’s local context, have completed at least two years of training as a cook and have at least two years of experience as a skilled worker in the respective national cuisine.

If no such two-year training is offered in the country, it may be replaced by at least six years’ work experience in the respective country’s cuisine. Furthermore, the applicant must be able to prove good English and German language skills. The salary should correspond to the tariff of a cook de lot or sole cook.


Extension of the residence permit

An extension according to § 8 AufenthG up to the legally stipulated period of a maximum of four years is possible; it is determined by § 8 I AufenthG, according to the same regulations that are to be applied to the initial granting. This can be countered by a misconduct on the part of the employee, for example the failure to inform the authority when changing jobs (the residence permit for working as a speciality cook is only valid for the job specified in the residencet document).

At the end of these four years, the residence permit for employment as a speciality cook ends. An extension beyond that time is not possible. In accordance with § 11 III of the Ordinance on Employment, an application for a new residence permit may only be issued after three years have elapsed since the expiry of the previous residence permit.


Bypassing the limitation

In the past, attempts were increasingly made to circumvent this time limit for employment as a specialty cook by appointing the person as CEO / manager / executive employee with general power of attorney or procuration according to § 3 No. 1 BeschV. The jurisdiction clearly rejects this.

The term “executive employee” from § 3 No. 1 of the Employment Ordinance is therefore to be understood objectively. In the first place, due to the restaurants size and structure, there must be a need for a manager. According to his abilities, he must also be able to meet the challenges typical of his profession and also be willing to perform these tasks. In addition, the contractual structure must correspond to the profile and the actual abilities of the applicant.


Proof of suitability as an executive employee according to § 3 No. 1 BeschV

High demands must therefore be placed on the proof of the suitability of a possibly outstanding culinary speciality cook to run a company. In particular, court rulings regarded as essential the knowledge of the German language and knowledge of the German legal system to be indispensable for participation in legal relations as an authorised representative of a company. It is therefore necessary for a manager irrespective of the language required or used for internal processes, to be able to communicate in the nations official language, also and above all in the business and bureaucratic environment of the company.

This does not require a manager to be in a position to take over the sole management of the restaurant on his own, taking on all management tasks; however, a qualification limited to internal management for language reasons is not sufficient to be able to manage a company with general power of attorney that is located in Germany and subject to German law. In addition, the contract of a manager must have a clear difference in salary compared to other, non-managerial positions in the company. A gross salary of 3500 euros was not considered sufficient, the difference in salary compared to the standard wage of a single cook or chef de lot was too small.


Would you like to work as a speciality cook in Germany and you are looking for help with the legal possibilities of obtaining residence permit? Would you like to hire a specialty cook from abroad to enhance the finesse of your culinary offer?

We are at your disposal nationwide and are your reliable and competent partner for all questions regarding the right of residence for speciality cooks. Just give us a call at +49 221 93295960 or send us an e-mail at info@se-legal.de or use our online form. We would be happy to explain your opportunities and possibilities to you as part of our free initial assessment.