Working in Germany
Third-country nationals can only work in Germany if their residence title entitles them to do so. Your residence title forms the basis for determining whether you can stay and work in Germany, although ultimately this decision depends on the result of a judgment.
Criteria for entry into Germany
Whether a foreign national can come to Germany to work depends on Germany’s specific economic needs at the time, taking into consideration the state of the labor market, and the government’s duty to take effective measures to combat unemployment. Foreign workers can only come to Germany to work if they have received a specific offer of work.
A distinction is made between two types of job: jobs for which approval is required from the Federal Employment Agency, and jobs for which no approval is needed. Jobs for which no approval is needed include work in the fields of management, academia and research.
Special procedures and rules apply for highly qualified persons, university graduates, academics, researchers and the self-employed.
The right to work
- Foreigners holding a right to reside (Niederlassungserlaubnis)
- Students wishing to work no more than 120 days or 240 half-days per year or undertake part-time work alongside their studies
- Foreign nationals whose admittance into Germany is explained by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, or a body appointed by it, as being to “uphold German political interests” (Section 22, Sentence 3 of the Residence Act)
- Persons incontestably recognized as being entitled to asylum or as being foreign refugees (Section 25, Paras. 1 and 2 of the Residence Act)
- Foreign family members of German citizens
- Foreign life partners of German citizens
- Foreign family members of foreign nationals
- Persons who have moved to Germany to join their spouse and possess a right of residence in their own right (Section 31, Para. 1, Sentence 3 of the Residence Act)
- Young foreign nationals exercising their right to return to Germany (Section 37, Para. 1, Sentence 2 of the Residence Act)
- Former Germans and de facto Germans returning to Germany (Section 38, Paras. 4 and 5 of the Residence Act)
- Persons who have been awarded a residence permit after holding a leave to remain (Duldung) for many years (Section 104a, Para. 4, Sentence 2 of the Residence Act)
- Persons awarded a residence permit to enable them to look for a job (Section 16, Para. 4 of the Residence Act)
Recognition of foreign vocational qualifications
Where can I go to get my foreign qualifications officially recognized in Germany? What are my career prospects like in Germany? What training is on offer? Professional advice on these and other matters is available from Heidelberg’s “Integration through Training” (Integration durch Qualifikation) network.