Immigration to Germany: Important Information One Must Know

IntroductionIn a stark contrast to some other European nations, Germany supports immigration of skilled workers and since 2005, it has made permanent residency application to all highly-skilled workers rather than offering them a five-year initial visa as was the case previously. In fact, The German Immigration Act, the supervisory rule of law was changed in 2005 to address the talent shortage of highly skilled workers, the ones who are in IT or in scientific research, in the sprawling nation.Family Members of German residents having a visa and skilled highly enough can apply for work permit legally. This is applicable to close family members who later want to join their families in Germany, too.Foreign graduate students passing from a German university can stay 18 months in the country after their graduation. Students having degrees considered valid from universities out of Germany can stay up to 6 months on a Jobseeker’s Visa.Businessmen who could invest roughly about EUR 250,000 and create job opportunities through their initiatives can also apply for permanent settlement visas in Germany.Additionally, Germany being a member of the Schengen Agreement, people having a Schengen Visa can stay and roam in Germany freely. However, this is applicable to countries that are a member of this agreement.The Entrepreneur VisaThe Entrepreneur Visa is granted to people the experience and services of who is in high demand in Germany. If your investment can create a positive impact on the German economy, or you have sufficient funds (a minimum of EUR 250,000) to establish a business, then there are very good chances of obtaining an entrepreneur visa.

The Entrepreneur Visa holders have equal rights as any other German citizens. No German associate or guarantor has to be named or proved to get this visa. There is a gestation period of three years after establishing the business in Germany, and once the business is established for these three years, the founder can get unlimited residence permits allowing him/her to stay or enter in Germany anytime wished.Visa for Spouses and ChildrenPeople who marry German citizens get equal rights as that of the permanent citizen whom he/she has married, meaning that if the spouse is permitted to work, the foreign national who married him/her could also stay and work in the country.Children below the age of 16 can go to stay in Germany if both parents (and the parent having custody of the children) have a permanent residence permit. 16+ minors can also join their parents in Germany provided they speak German. This is also applicable to children moving into Germany whose both parents or a parent having the custody have permanent residency in the country.The same-sex community has same rights as those of straight individuals in Germany and they are treated similarly to married couples in Germany.Germany van der Elst VisasThe ‘van der Elst’ ruling states that a European Economic Area (EEA) company does not need to obtain additional work permits in Europe. While many EEA countries do not allow this ruling to be effective; Germany does accept it.Additionally, any non-EEA employee residing in the EEA under an employer or service provider for more than 12 months need not obtain additional work permits provided they apply for the ‘van der Elst visas.Permanent Residence in GermanyTo stay and work in Germany, separate residence and work visas are not required. The employees should only apply for resident visas and they are automatically granted work permits for working in the country.Legal residents of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and other designated nations mentioned in the 2005 immigration Act can apply for their residence and work permit while being visitors in Germany. Residents of other countries must apply to the German Embassy or Consulate before entering Germany.The Application Procedure for Immigration to GermanyStage 1: The potential immigrant must fill up the residence permit application providing access to the labor market as well. It should be received by the German embassy in the home country of the probable immigrant.Stage 2: The Embassy send this application to the immigration office known as the Auslaenderbehoerde in the location of a job for the potential immigrant. The immigration office now checks the application along with the employment office called the Arbeitsamt of the selected location by the potential immigrant and makes a decision.Stage 3: Once the application is approved, the Embassy offers an entry visa to the candidate.

Stage 4: The immigrant and their family members can apply for work and residence permits after arrival in the country at the local foreign national authority.The Student Applicant Visa1. The basic requirement for student applicant visa is to gain admission to a German university. Student Applicant Visas allow prospective students to enter Germany to take admissions tests and go through numerous other requirements related to the university application process. Preliminary student application visas are granted for 3 months, but these can be extended in case of a valid and applicable requirement.2. Students can apply for student visas to the German Embassy in their own country once they are accepted onto a course at a German university. The verification certificate offered by a registered and valid German university must also be attached to the application.3. The German Embassy will then take an opinion to the foreigners’ authority in the given town or city of the university.4. If the foreigners’ authority approved the application, the German Embassy will issue the visa for entry into Germany.Holidaymakers who wish to Work in GermanyGerman working holiday visas are offered to young people between 18 and 30 from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. These visa holders can stay up to 12 months in Germany and seek holiday jobs lasting not more than 90 days to get help to finance the trip. Working holiday visas can be obtained via the local German Embassy.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.