Work Permits in Germany

Understand the requirements for foreigners (EU and non-EU) coming to Germany for work or self-employment...

Being able to live and work freely in another Member State is an essential part of being an EU citizen. In theory, access to work cannot be denied on the grounds of nationality. However, work is not always easy to find in Germany. The situation is more difficult for those from outside the EU who may find it far from easy to obtain a work permit without specific skills.

All new arrivals in Germany should go to the local Registration Office (Standesamt – Einwohnermeldeamt) within one week of their arrival. Any longer and a fine must be paid.

This sets off the registration process and details will be passed to the authority responsible for foreign residents - the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde).

EU citizens who wish to work in Germany need only a residence permit before they can enter into an employment contract, a work permit will almost certainly not be required in addition. Workers from outside the EU need a work permit.

Students may work for a maximum of 90 days per year without a work permit but will still need proof of residence.

Workers no longer need a tax card as everything is now done by the employer via an online system called ELStAM.

Transferring Qualifications

Germany has recently introduced a Recognition Act which acknowledges any professional and vocational qualifications that have been gained abroad. Although there is no organisation that deals with transferring qualifications, the Recognition in Germany portal has been set up to show expatriates where to go to get the recognition they need for their qualifications.

Work Permits (Arbeitsgenehmigung or Arbeitserlaubnis)

Non-EU citizens must have a work permit. The type of work permit issued is linked to the type of residence permit which has been granted. Applicants will be asked what type of work they expect to look for, for example, unskilled, skilled, highly skilled. Anyone looking for unskilled work is likely to find it difficult to obtain both a residence and a work permit.

For highly skilled workers there is the opportunity of applying for an EU Blue Card. An EU Blue Card gives highly educated or skilled workers from outside of the EU the right to work and stay in Europe. A degree is necessary in order to apply for the EU Blue Card in Germany; any university graduate can apply as long as they have a current contract of employment with a salary of at least €46,400. Where there are professions with a shortage of skilled workers in Germany, the salary requirement is lowered to €36,192. These positions include, among others, engineers, academics and doctors.

Those with an EU Blue Card may also apply for a permanent residence permit known as a Niederlassungserlaubnis, providing the other criteria are also met. Further information about the Niederlassungserlaubnis can be found on the Berlin.de website. To apply, visit your local Auslandsbehörde.

  • For more detailed information non EU nationals should contact their Embassy. US citizens will find full requirements on the US Embassy Berlin site.

For highly skilled workers there is the opportunity of applying for an EU Blue Card. An EU Blue Card gives highly educated or skilled workers from outside of the EU the right to work and stay in Europe. A degree is necessary in order to apply for the EU Blue Card in Germany; any university graduate can apply as long as they have a current contract of employment with a salary of at least €46,400. Where there are professions with a shortage of skilled workers in Germany, the salary requirement is lowered to €36,192. These positions include, among others, engineers, academics and doctors. For more information on the EU Blue Card and details on how to apply visit the BlueCard-EU website. http://www.bluecard-eu.de/eu-blue-card-germany/

Those with an EU Blue Card may also apply for permanent residence permit known as a Niederlassungserlaubnis, providing the other criteria are also met. Further information about the Niederlassungserlaubnis can be found on the Berlin.de website. https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/121864/ To apply, visit your local Auslandsbehörde

 

 

For more detailed information non EU nationals should contact their Embassy.