March 2024: 10 changes affecting expats in Germany

March 2024: 10 changes affecting expats in Germany

As March breaks the spring, there are many important changes happening in Germany. Here’s what you need to know for the month ahead:

1. Second part of the skilled worker law will be adopted

From March 1, 2024, Germany will adopt the second part of its new skilled worker law, the first part of which came into effect in November 2023. The second phase of the law will make it easier for more groups of skilled workers to come to Germany. 

Anyone who has a degree from a university or a vocational qualification which is recognised by the country in which it was obtained can come to Germany if they can demonstrate two years of experience in the field in which they would like to work. The qualification and experience do not have to be related or in the same industry, only applicants' work experience has to align with the job in Germany that they hope to fill.

It will also get easier for nursing staff from so-called "third-state" countries to come to Germany to work, and for companies in Germany to employ third-state nationals on a short-term basis.

2. Workers must officially log their hours

Due to a ruling from Germany’s Federal Labour Court (BAG), from March 4 anyone who is employed in Germany will have to track their working hours every day.

According to the new law, which was passed in September 2021, employers in Germany are required to set up a time tracking system so that employees can easily log their real hours worked. Your employer will likely notify you of this new system by March 4.

Until now, only employees working for minimum wage or in specific industries where exploitation is more common, such as hospitality or construction, were required to log their specific hours.

3. Higher health insurance contributions for pensioners

From March 1 onwards pensioners in Germany will have to pay more for their health insurance. How much this increase will be will depend on which health insurance provider you are with.

If this affects you, you do not need to do anything since the amount will be deducted from your pension before you receive it.

4. New number plates for small vehicles

Anyone who owns a small vehicle (Kleinkrafträder) in Germany, such as a moped, e-bike or scooter which can reach up to 45 kilometres per hour, will have to get a new number plate from March 1. The colour of the small vehicles' number plates changes every year. This time around, blue is up.

5. Organ donor register begins move online

Registering as an organ donor in Germany is about to get a little easier, as the process will soon also be available online. From March 18, in just a few clicks people living in Germany can join the 44 percent of residents and citizens already on the organ donor register.

If you do decide to sign up, you will receive your Organspendeausweis (organ donor ID) in the post, which you should sign and preferably carry with your standard ID, to be easily recognised as an official organ donor in the event of an emergency.

If, during your lifetime, you do not provide written proof of whether you would like to donate some or all of your organs, the decision is left to your next of kin after your death.

6. Household devices will need to display energy consumption

Fridges, washing machines, dryers and the like will soon have to meet higher energy-saving standards. From March 1, all new household appliance products will have to be more efficient and fridge manufacturers will have to let customers know how much energy their products consume in one year. Washing machines and tumble dryers will have to release information on energy consumption per 100 cycles.

7. Youth Culture Pass will relaunch

After Germany’s youth culture pass (KulturPass) for 18-year-olds was extended for another year, from March 1 anyone who was born in 2006 can apply for their pass. The pass was first introduced in June 2023 and entitles holders to free cinema, concert and gallery visits up to the value of 100 euros.

Eligible teens can download the Kultur-Pass App on all app platforms and access their pass with an eID.

8. International Women’s Day holiday in Berlin and Mecklenberg-Vorpommern

The first of the non-Christmas related Feiertage, International Women’s Day, Frauenkampftag, Day of Feminist Struggle, or whichever name the day goes by for you, will be recognised in Berlin and Mecklenberg-Vorpommern.

As is the case every year, demonstrations are registered for all across the country, not just in the states where March 8 is a public holiday. So head out there! In the words of Rosa Luxemburg, one of Germany’s most famous women thinkers, “Diejenigen, die sich nicht bewegen, werden ihre Fesseln nicht bemerken” (“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains”).

9. Easter holidays already!

Easter is coming early this year, bringing us another two public holidays in March! What a way to end the month! Good Friday will fall on March 29 and Easter Sunday on March 31. Remember to mentally prepare yourself to be bombarded by Spargel.

10. Say goodbye to the gloom of winter nights

Hip, hip, hooray! Chocolate overdoses aside, the Easter Bunny is set to bring us another treat in 2024. March 31, will also be the day that Germany turns the clocks forward at 2am! With the cold months of winter passed, the sun will set at a gracious 7.39pm on Easter Day.

Thumb image credit: peter jesche /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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