German Immigration Work Permits and Visas

About Germany

As Western Europe's richest and most populous nation, Germany remains a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. Two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then Germany has expended considerable funds to bring eastern productivity and wages up to western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries formed a common European currency, the euro.

Germany possesses the world's third most technologically powerful economy after the US and Japan. The adoption of a common European currency and the general political and economic integration of Europe will bring major changes to the German economy in the early 21st century.

After more than a decade of putting itself back together again, Germany continues to improve as a destination. Huge investments in infrastructure and services are not only erasing the Cold War dividing lines; scars caused by World War II are also finally disappearing. In real terms, this means that travelers are likely to move around the country faster, dine better, and experience new attractions like the Reichstag's glass dome. A lot has changed, yet chances are that repeat visitors will still find the things they always liked: the restaurant serving huge helpings of sauerbraten or the biergarten with liter upon liter of wheat beer.

Once you stop looking at Germany strictly in terms of east and west, you'll have to admit that the country really is a lot more complex. Regions are sharply defined, each one maintaining its distinctive character in terms of dialect, traditional dress and foods. We recommend that you sample as many regions as possible. Booming Berlin, now the No. 1 tourist magnet, is the clearest benefactor of reunification. Visitors to the cultural centers of Dresden, Leipzig and Weimar in eastern Germany will find improved amenities there as well. The north has the delightful old seafaring cities of Hamburg and Bremen. Along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers are picturesque castles and steep, terraced vineyards. From Frankfurt to Bremen runs a trail of villages that helped inspire the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. In the south are the alluring Black Forest, Munich and Bavaria's boisterous beer halls and rococo palaces and churches.

Although it has plenty of fairy-tale sights and picturesque scenery that is reminiscent of medieval times, Germany is without a doubt a postindustrial, multicultural country with all the inherent advantages and conflicts. Reunification is a huge social and economic undertaking, and it comes on top of an already heavy and, at times, troubling history. Travelers to Germany will probably not be affected by much of this, but on the other hand, visitors shouldn't expect all parts of the country, at all times, to be an Oktoberfest.

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