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Work and live in Germany

Work and live in Germany

I am a foreigner and want to work in Germany. What are the possibilities?

As a general rule, foreigners who are nationals of states outside the European Economic Area can only work in Germany if their residence permit allows them to do so.

The end of recruitment decided by the federal government in 1973 is maintained in substance because of the high unemployment rate in Germany.

In the future, foreigners arriving in Germany will in principle only be able to enter the labor market if, throughout the federal territory, the position in question cannot be occupied by a German worker or by a foreign worker who must be privileged.

The end of recruitment is maintained for unskilled or low-skilled people for whom the possibilities of access to the labor market are very limited. Exceptions are made for certain professional categories such as highly qualified experts, namely researchers and specialists, whose arrival is facilitated by immigration law.

Foreigners with good qualifications, such as university experts, for example, are allowed under the law the possibility of immigrating to Germany and staying there permanently.

Graduates of higher education holding a recognized university degree or equivalent to a German university degree have enjoyed, since 1 August 2012, certain opportunities for access to the labor market thanks to the legislation relating to the European Blue Card. To obtain this card, the applicant must provide documents attesting to his professional qualifications and that he is in possession of a firm job offer with a minimum gross annual salary of 52,000 euros. In this case, the consent of the Federal Employment Agency is not required.

Experts specializing in the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology as well as doctors also benefit from the reductions and facilities of the European Blue Card if they receive a salary equal to that of national workers, salary which must however amount to a minimum of 40,560 euros. In this case, the Federal Employment Agency must give its consent.

Self-employed workers can obtain a residence permit when their activity project is of particular economic interest or there is a specific regional need in this area. A review of activity projects is then carried out on a case-by-case basis, in which particular importance is given to the impact of the project on the economy and to its financing, which must be guaranteed.

Job search in Germany

Since August 1, 2012, graduates of higher education holding a German diploma, a diploma of recognized equivalence or a foreign diploma but comparable to a German diploma are allowed to enter German territory. to look for a job. The job search visa issued to them allows them to stay for a maximum period of six months to seek employment. In addition to their university degree, applicants must provide proof that they have sufficient resources to support themselves for the duration of their intended stay. During the job search period, they are not allowed to engage in employment or self-employment.

What is the procedure for applying for a work visa?

It is necessary to first submit a visa application to the competent German representation. Next, the applicant must provide, among other things, documents proving that an employer in Germany offers him a job.

The German representation abroad will then forward the visa application for advice to the Foreigners Department of the intended place of work in Germany. The Foreigners Service will consult with the employment agency to formulate an opinion. It should be noted that the Foreigners’ Service and the employment office generally only give their approval if it is shown that the job in question cannot be occupied by a person with a work permit for Germany.

In most cases, you can easily consult the website of the competent German representation abroad for further information on the documents to be attached to the visa application. You can also obtain information directly from this representation.

What is the European Blue Card? Who can get it? Where can I request it?

The European Blue Card is a residence permit issued by a Member State of the European Union and authorizing third-country nationals to exercise a gainful activity.

The provisions relating to the European Blue Card are laid down in European Directive 2009/50 / EC. This card should in particular allow highly qualified third-country nationals to stay in the territory of the EU in order to remedy the lack of qualified personnel existing in many sectors of the labor market.

In Germany, the EU Blue Card has, since 1 st August 2012, the main residence permits for academic experts from abroad. It is issued following a simplified procedure without the participation of the Federal Employment Agency.

The conditions to be fulfilled are as follows:

  • The applicant must provide proof that he holds a university degree at the end of his studies.
  • He must receive a minimum remuneration of 52,000 euros (2018).

For professions marked in Germany by a labor shortage and where the number of vacant positions is high, the minimum annual salary is 40,560 euros (2018). This is the case, for example, for doctors and engineers, but not for scientists, mathematicians or computer scientists. To avoid abuse, the Federal Employment Agency in these cases carries out a comparability analysis in terms of working conditions and in particular working time and salary.

The European Blue Card offers privileges to the immigrant and his family members. The right of permanent residence, which is granted to them quickly, allows potential candidates to plan their future in Germany for the long term; after a 33-month stay, they can obtain an indefinite settlement permit. 21 months are sufficient to obtain this permit for people who can prove knowledge of German corresponding to level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​- CEFR -.

In Germany, the European Blue Card is issued exclusively by the foreigners’ services. Nationals of third countries subject to the visa requirement who are entitled to obtain the European Blue Card receive from the German representation concerned a national entry visa for employment purposes to enter Germany. The foreigners service then replaces the entry visa with a European blue card.

I am a computer and would like to work in Germany there – a – t – it special opportunities for me?

Specialists in information and communication technologies can obtain a residence permit in order to exercise a job. The first condition to be fulfilled is to be in possession of a concrete job offer.

These people can be issued a European Blue Card or the corresponding entry visa from a minimum annual salary of 40,560 euros (2018).

If they do not have a concrete job offer, they have the option of applying for a job search visa.

I am a citizen of the European Union and would like to work in Germany. What are the working possibilities in Germany?

In principle, citizens of the European Union enjoy freedom of movement and can also work in Germany.

Since the accession of Croatia to the EU on 1 st July 2013, Croatian nationals are subject two years to phase-preserving the requirement to obtain a work permit. On the other hand, the transitional periods fixed for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals expired on December 31, 2013.

Further information on the possibilities of working in Germany can be found on the websites of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Federal Employment Agency.

Are the professional qualifications I acquired abroad recognized in Germany?

In Germany, to practice certain professions (for example lawyer, audit, teacher, physiotherapist, doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, architect), it is necessary to have certain certificates of competence. Check with the competent service for the recognition of professional qualifications to find out whether those you have acquired abroad are sufficient for your future activity in Germany.

Since April 2012, immigrants have had an enforceable right to have the competent services examine whether the vocational training diploma they obtained abroad is equivalent to a German diploma.

Further information on the recognition of vocational training diplomas is available on the following website:

I would like to work as an Au Pair in Germany. Where can I get information?

The Federal Employment Agency publishes an information brochure on the conditions as well as the procedure for submitting an application and a placement.

The Federal Employment Agency

You will also find information on the website of the Association for Youth Work.

Association for Youth Work (Verein für Internationale Jugendarbeit)

Is it true ” that foreigners can also settle in Germany in order to exercise a self-employed activity?


Foreign nationals with an innovative spirit should benefit from a simplified framework for setting up businesses in Germany and contributing to the creation of new jobs. The residence legislation in force since August 2012 should encourage interested parties to invest in Germany. It leaves the Länder more leeway in judging the chances of success of the different types of commercial activity.

Commercial, artisanal or industrial activities:
If you wish to create a commercial, artisanal or industrial activity (Gewerbe), you can obtain a residence permit for the exercise of a self-employed activity, called “ Aufenthaltserlaubnis zum Zweck der selbständigen Tätigkeit ” (art. 21 , para. 1 of the Law on the Residence of Foreigners – Aufenthaltsgesetz), if you meet the following conditions:

  • Your product or service is of economic interest or meets a regional need.
  • Your activity portends positive economic benefits.
  • The financing of your project is guaranteed by your personal contribution or a loan.

If you are over 45 years of age, the permit can only be granted if you also prove that you have an appropriate retirement pension plan.

Liberal activities:
If you wish to become self- employed in a liberal profession (freier Beruf), you can obtain a residence permit for the exercise of a liberal activity called “Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Ausübung einer freiberuflichen Tätigkeit ” (art. 21, para. 5 of the law on the residence of foreigners – Aufenthaltsgesetz). The residence permit is issued if you demonstrate the financing of your project, if you can provide for yourself and if you are authorized to exercise this profession. If you are over 45, you must also prove that you have sufficient retirement provision.

If your business is successful and you manage to support yourself and your family, you can have your residence permit extended, which is initially limited to a maximum of three years. In the event of the creation of a craft, commercial or industrial activity (Gewerbe), it is possible to apply for an establishment permit after three years.

Find out how to make your project a reality in Germany on our internet portal ” Make it in Germany ” (

You can obtain further information from the diplomatic mission or consular post responsible for your place of residence.

I do not have German nationality but work in Germany and have a valid residence and work permit. My spouse …

… who does not have German nationality either, can he / she live with me in Germany and work?

If you want to live with your spouse in Germany, you must submit an application for family reunification to the competent German representation abroad.

Note, however, that the issuance of a residence permit for Germany is not automatically linked to the issuance of a work permit. For the application for the work permit, which must only be submitted after entering Germany, it is necessary to provide documents proving that an employer actually offers your spouse a job in Germany.

In most cases, the employment office will only issue the work permit if it is demonstrated that the job cannot be occupied by someone who already has a work permit for Germany. The exceptions mainly concern jobs within the framework of continuing vocational training or cooperation between companies, jobs in which international exchanges are the rule, as well as information technology experts.

Nationals of the countries of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg , Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland have the right to live and work in Germany.

After their arrival, they only have to register at the corresponding office of the town hall (frequently called “ Einwohnermeldeamt ” or “ Bürgeramt ”).

However, nationals of countries which joined the European Union on May 1, 2004 are still subject to the transitional arrangements.

I would like to emigrate to Germany. What are the conditions for immigration to Germany?

Germany, unlike the United States of America, Canada or Australia, is not a classic immigration country that sets annual immigration quotas.
Apart from family reunification with close family members already enjoying an unlimited right of residence for Germany, foreigners who are not citizens of the European Union can only carry out stays of limited duration in Germany (eg for studies, work).

Where can I get information on the validity of my driving license in Germany?

The Federal Ministry of Transport, Construction and Housing offers information on the validity of foreign driving licenses in Germany on its website.

Federal Ministry of Transport, Construction and Housing