Are you searching for relevant information on what it is like to study and work in Germany? Search no more because you’re in the right place.
In this post, you’ll get every detail you need to know about studying and working in Germany. As an international student, you need to boost your earnings by looking for ways of earning while studying.
If you wish to study in Germany, you need to know if you’re also permitted to work while you study and the kind of job opportunities available for you. Working during your studies will help you cover tuition/living expenses and give you work experience.
In this post, we will tell you everything you need to know about studying and working in Germany.
Before we proceed, if you have not yet decided what to study in Germany, you should know that the most popular course options among International students include:
- Bachelor in Social Sciences in Germany
- Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering in Germany
- Bachelor in Business Administration in Germany
- Bachelor in Design in Germany
Table of Contents
All you need to know about student work permit in Germany
You do not need a student work permit to get a job or work in Germany if you come from an EU/EEA country. Also, there’s no limitation to the number of hours you can work and the nature of the job you can apply for. However, if you work for more than 20 hours/week, then you need to pay taxes to the German social security system.
For instance, if you earn more than 450 EUR in your job, you’ll need a tax number, and monthly deductions will be made, which you’ll get back at the end of the year. If you work less than 20 hours per week, the tax policy in Germany is not applicable to you. If you’re from any country outside the European Union, there are limitations on the number of hours you can work.
You must also note that if you’re taking an internship or volunteering job in Germany, it will be counted as regular work and deducted from your 120 full days per year work limit, whether it is paid or unpaid. Furthermore, you can not be self-employed or work as a freelancer as an international student outside the European Union.
Student work options available in Germany
The major types of jobs available for students in Germany to gain professional experience include:
- Part-time jobs
- Internships (Praktika)
- Summer or winter vacation jobs
Part-time jobs are the best job option for international students outside the EU who are not allowed to work full-time in Germany while studying. Working part-time allows you to dedicate more time to your studies while still earning money. Here are some of the most popular part-time jobs in Germany:
Research assistant at the university (11 – 12 EUR/hour) –
This is one of the best part-time jobs to look out for as a student. This is because the nature of the job will help you in your studies.
Office assistant (12 EUR/hour) –
Your main task as an office assistant will be to handle administrative duties assigned to you by your employers and give information to clients and partners of the company.
Language tutor (12 – 15 EUR/hour) –
If you have a high proficiency level in the English language or any other language, you can easily get a job as a language tutor at a school or local company.
Support staff/waiters at cafés / bars (7 EUR/hour) –
This is probably one of the easiest jobs you can find in Germany. The schedules are flexible and do not require advanced German Knowledge.
Retail store shopping assistant (9 EUR/hour) –
As a retail store shopping assistant, your job is to help customers with information about the various products in the store and also help them to make good selections.
Babysitting (10 – 15 EUR/hour) –
If you love children and have experience working with them, then babysitting might be the best part-time job option for you. Babysitting jobs are well jobs, and the rates are negotiable.
Call center officer (15 EUR/hour) –
As a call center officer, your job is to answer phone calls, analyze customers’ complaints, and help solve them. You need to have interpersonal skills to handle such a job. Additionally, you also need to be a patient and diplomatic person to be effective in this job. Having a sound knowledge of the German language is a compulsory requirement for call center officer jobs.
Field interviewer (18 – 20 EUR/hour) –
Most German companies need the services of data collectors to carry out field surveys about certain products and services.
Home delivery (11 EUR/hour) –
You can also work for online companies or restaurants as a home delivery agent. Your job is to deliver products directly to people’s houses. It’s a well-paid job.
If you want to find high-paying part-time jobs, go to big cities like Munchen, Hamburg, Koln, Gottingen, Berlin, Bremen, etc.
Recommended: How to Study in Germany for Free – Germany for International Students in 2020
Where to find a job offer as a student in Germany
Many student union websites and universities have job exchanges. Most universities post job offers on the blackboards along hallways, and these job offers can be within the university (e.g., research assistant or Liberian) or at various companies and organizations.
Try the “Studentenwerk” services, which are employment agencies managed by the student union, or the Federal Employment Agency in Germany if you’re interested in jobs outside of the academic community. In Germany, every university has a website called “Studentenwerk” where job openings are publicized.
Engineering and automation are what Germany is known for. Germany is one of the best European countries with the lowest unemployment rate making it an attractive option.
Working in Germany after your studies
If you intend to stay back in Germany after your studies to work, you need to start making all the necessary preparations while you’re still a student. It is highly essential to have proficiency in the German language to find a good job in Germany; otherwise, you’ll have limited offers.
Students from the EU/EEA
European Union citizens have the right to seek to work in Germany and other European countries without the need for a work permit. As a European Union citizen, you’ll enjoy the same rights and privileges as German citizens in terms of access to good working conditions, high-paying job offers, and social tax advantage.
Students from outside the EU/EEA
Students from other countries outside the EU who wish to work in Germany after their graduation can extend their residence permit for up to 18 months to find a befitting job related to their studies.
To apply for a residence permit extension, you need the following
- International passport
- Original University degree or statement from the university confirming that you have successfully completed your studies
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof that you have the financial means to support your cost of living
The 18 months period begins from the day you receive your final results. Therefore it is advisable to start looking for job offers during your final semester. In these 18 months after your graduation, you can work for as many hours as possible without any restriction.
After graduation, if you find a dream job in Germany, apply for an EU Blue card or German residence permit. While the application is processed you can remain in Germany. The EU Blue card is preferred for future work in other European Union countries. For a blue card, you must have been offered a job with a net pay of €53,000 or €41,808 for professionals.
To become a permanent resident, you can apply for a ‘settlement permit’ as early as two years after receiving your EU Blue Card or permanent residence permit.
Seeking work in Germany after returning to your home country
If you return to your home country immediately after your graduation but wish to travel back to Germany to find a job, then you can apply for a jobseeker Visa. This is a six months visa that allows you to find a job related to your degree in Germany. You must prove that you can support yourself while looking for a job because you will not be allowed to work with a job seeker visa. Once you find a suitable job, you can then apply for the necessary residence permit. You can apply for the Jobseeker visa through the German embassy in your home country.
Earning Money during your Studies
As a student in Germany, there are ways you can earn money while you study, for example, as a private tutor or waiting staff. Being able to communicate in the German language will increase your chances of finding a part-time job. However, you need to be aware of the legal regulations guiding work in Germany.
You can get more information about student jobs in Germany through Student services at the universities and the Local representative of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).
Online job boards found on University websites and digital media can also be of help. When searching for student jobs in Germany, you can look at ads in local newspapers and notices on the Schwarzen Brettern’ – the large information boards at various locations on campus.
Working as an academic assistant
In Germany, people call those who work as academic/student assistants at a university; Hiwis (Hilfswissenschaftler). Student/academic assistants lead tutorials, supervise the library, or research literature for professors. One advantage of working as a student assistant is that the work is always related to your field of study; therefore, you’re working and learning at the same time.
Furthermore, enquire about job openings at the administrative office of your university and keep an eye on the notice boards.
Working rules in Germany
There are legal rules governing the amount of time they allow international students to work in Germany while studying. However, the rules depend on your country of origin.
If you come from the European Union Countries, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland, you can work for as many hours as you wish without needing a work permit. However, if you want to work for more than 20 hours a week as a student, you have to pay national insurance contributions (just like every German Citizen)
If you come from another country outside the European Union, you can only work 240 half days or 120 full days a year. You’ can’t also undertake self-employment. If you wish to work for more than the stipulated hours, you must seek permission from the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ registration office) and the Agentur für Arbeit (local employment agency). However, this depends on the level of unemployment in the federal state where you reside.
Exceptions for student/academic assistants
The 240 half-day or 120 full days per year rule for non-EU citizens is not applicable to student assistant-related jobs. There are no restrictions on these kinds of jobs at the university. However, you must inform the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ registration office) if you wish to work for more hours. If you’re searching for student assistant jobs, you should contact your local student service office or the Akademischen Auslandsamt (foreign student’s office) at your university.
You should note that the labor law regulations applicable to International students in Germany are stringent. It is vital that you’re aware of them because you can get deported for infringing them.
Rules for students on language and preparatory courses
If you wish to take a preparatory course or language course in Germany, you can only work after you have been granted permission from the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) and can only work during the recess period.
Rules for work placements
If you wish to work during your semester break, it will be counted as regular work. Therefore each day of your work placement will be deducted from your 120 days per year limit. Once you exceed this limit, you’ll not be allowed to work again. This is also applicable to unpaid work placements. However, there are exceptions for mandatory work placements ( industrial placements as required by your course of study). For such a case scenario, you can work for as many hours as you wish.
How much you get to earn for your part-time job in Germany depends on so many factors like your expertise, the region, and the sector in which you work. In expensive cities like Cologne, Hamburg, or Munich you’ll receive more pay, but the cost of living there is extremely high. In 2015, the German government established a minimum wage. You can get more information about the minimum wage on the website of the Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs). Temporary staff at trade fairs, production assistants in industries, and student assistants are paid slightly more than the minimum wage.
Taxes and Insurance
If you earn up to 450 EUR per month, no tax will be deducted from your earnings. However, if your monthly salary is more than 450 EUR, you’ll need a tax number. A certain percentage will be deducted from your monthly salary, which you’ll get back at the end of the year if you submit your tax returns.
If you’re a full-time worker in Germany, you’ll be required to pay a social security contribution monthly. These include payments for health insurance, pensions, nursing care insurance, and unemployment insurance. You’re exempted from these social security contributions if you work less than 50 days in a year.
Things you need to consider to study in Germany
1. Find a study program
One of the first things you need to do is to decide what course you want to study in Germany. Start doing your research at least three months before deciding. The truth of the matter is that choosing a study program that suits your passion and finding the best university that offers such a course is the first step to planning your studies in Germany.
This is not supposed to be a major problem to resolve because there are many universities and countless study programs in Germany-and their quality is world-class. Regardless of your passion in life, you will surely find a course to pursue.
Finding a university and course of study is very important because it determines every other step.
2. Meet all the requirements
After you choose the university and course you want to study in Germany, the next step is to check all the requirements to see if you meet them. You can go to the official website of your chosen university and check their admission requirement section. Ensure that you contact the admissions office for all requirements you don’t understand. The entry requirements vary from university to university; therefore, you must ensure you go through the requirements multiple times.
Missing documents and bad timings are some of the common causes of rejected applications or delayed admissions. To avoid such occurrences, you must carefully adhere to all instructions in the requirements.
3. Learn the German language
You need to have a level of proficiency in the German language to have a fruitful stay during your studies, even if you study in English. Having strong language knowledge will help you comprehend materials, communicate, and understand they teach in lectures.
They teach most undergraduate, courses in the native language, while they partially teach higher education programs in German. Other than in the University, you need a strong background in the language to communicate with others in public places. Learning the German language from scratch can be a bit challenging, but if you start learning early, by the time you arrive in Germany, you’ll be able to catch up easily. It is advisable to start learning at least six months before you arrive in Germany.
4. Have enough financial resources if you’re not on Scholarship
If you’re not on Scholarship, you must ensure that you have the required financial means to live and study in Germany. Under the current German law, every foreign non-EU student must have proper financial means to cater for their stay in Germany during their studies. In fact, you must provide proof or a bank statement to verify that you have the financial means to live in Germany before they can process your application.
A foreign student in Germany must have a minimum of €10,332 (estimated to be the required amount to cover tuition and cost of living during the first year of studies). you must deposit this said amount into a blocked German Bank account.
A blocked account is a special type of bank account for international students to prove that they have the financial means to cater for their stay in Germany. If you want the processing of your visa application to be fast, you must use a blocked account as proof of financial resources.
5. Enrol at your university
Public higher education in Germany is free; however, you will still need to pay a registration fee of about €150 to €250. Consequently, you need to pay for your semester ticket to use public transport free of charge for six months.
To enroll in your university course in Germany, you need to appear before the administration office and submit the following documents
- The payment fee receipt
- The Letter of Admission
- Proof of health insurance in Germany
- Degree qualifications (original documents or certified copies)
- Completed and signed the Application Form
- Your Visa or Residence Permit
- A passport photo
- Your valid passport
The best way to support yourself financially as an international student in Germany is to look for part-time jobs. We believe all the information shared in this post will help you on how to study and work in Germany.