New Year new rules for expats in Germany

Published:  4 Feb at 6 PM
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For British expats already settled in Germany and those about to arrive in their new country, each New Year invariably brings in new rules.

Most European countries seem to start the new year with a raft of new or amended laws, but expats whose German is rudimentary at best might find the German versions difficult at best and indecipherable at worst. Some are simply minor changes, but a few could cause issues if ignored.

For example, Germany’s Bahncard 100 already saves expats' money on travel, and has been 10 per cent cheaper since the start of this year. From last Saturday, the reduction also applies to Bahncards 25 and 50 which already save residents 25 or 50 per cent off the cost of train travel. In addition, super-saver fares have also been reduced by 10 per cent and a VAT reduction on Bahncards brings both versions down in price.

Expats devoted to their mobile phones may well be pleased to hear subscription traps are now banned, meaning a mistake in pressing a button will no longer allow accidental ordering of paid services from third party apps and games. Users will be redirected to a separate web page and asked to explicitly give their consent. The bad news as regards mobile phones is that support for geriatric models will now be discontinued.

The inevitable Brexit report states that, until the end of this year, the UK will still be part of the EU’s customs union and internal market but, as every savvy expats knows, what happens after that is anyone’s guess. For the time being, ‘no change’ means exactly that, but expats may well find themselves still fighting for their rights to remain and work. Politics, just like the majority of the EU’s giant conurbations, never sleeps, but expats should remember that February this year allows an extra day for governments to argue.
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