Schengen Visa for Employment - Residence Permit
Anyone that wants to get gainful employment in the Schengen countries must get a residence permit in the form of a visa. A work permit will be included in the visa where needed.

Citizens of the USA, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, as well as EU citizens may apply for their residence permit after entering the Schengen territory without a visa.

Citizens of other countries must apply and get a residence permit before entering the Schengen territories for work purposes. This option is also available to the citizens of the countries who could otherwise enter without a visa first.

You have to submit the application in person, except in rare circumstances. After you submit all the required documents, they will be forwarded to the Alien's Office that has the jurisdiction for your intended place of residence. It takes between 1 and 3 months to process the application. Once the Alien's Office approves the application, the consulate will issue a residence permit in the form of a visa, which will include the authorization to work. No extra work permit needs to be obtained.

Scientists holding a scholarship by a German scientific organization may be granted a visa within a few days by the embassy/consulate.

FAQ
Q: I am an IT professional and I believe that there is a shortage of IT professionals in Germany. How do I find an employer and apply for residence and a work permit?
A: The Federal Employment Agency has set up an online job fair where you can introduce yourself and present your curriculum vitae. Companies also post job openings in this online fair. You may also contact bonn-zav.it-experts@arbeitsamt.de. Of course, you may also apply directly to a company in Germany.
As soon as you have a written formal notice that a work permit will be issued, you can apply for an entrance visa at the German Embassy or Consulate which has jurisdiction for your place of residence.

Q: I will be working the German office of my U.S. employer for a few years. Is it possible for my wife and children to accompany me?
A: Yes, it is generally possible for your wife and children to accompany you if you are going to Germany on a residence and work permit basis. You must present your marriage certificate for your wife's residence permit and your children's birth certificates for children's residence permit.

Q: If I am a legal resident alien in the U.S., and if I don't have a job offer from a German employer. However, I would like to work in Germany for a few years. Is it possible for me to get the residence and work permit?
A: No. You need to first find an employer in Germany who is willing to make you a job offer. You can apply for a residence and work permit only after you get a job offer.