Work in Germany
Germany is one of the world's most prosperous and stable countries, with a strong and diverse economy. It has the fourth-largest economy in the world, behind the United States, China, and Japan.
The German economy is based on a strong manufacturing sector and a highly skilled workforce. It is the largest economy in the European Union and the leading exporter of goods in the world. Germany has a strong and stable banking system and a well-developed infrastructure.
The German government has a long-term strategy for economic growth, which includes investing in research and development, innovation, and infrastructure. Germany also has a highly skilled workforce and a strong education system, which helps to attract international investment.
The unemployment rate in Germany is low, and the country has a relatively low poverty rate. The standard of living is high, and the country has a comprehensive social security system.
The German economy has faced challenges in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. However, the German government has implemented various measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy and to support businesses and workers. The economy has been recovering since 2021 and is expected to return to growth in the coming years.
Overall, the economic situation in Germany is stable and strong, and the country is expected to continue to be a leading player in the global economy in the future.
- Strong economy: Germany has one of the strongest and most stable economies in the world, with a low unemployment rate and a high standard of living.
- Career opportunities: Germany is home to many international companies and has a diverse and innovative economy, offering a wide range of job opportunities in industries such as engineering, technology, manufacturing, finance, and healthcare.
- Education: Germany has a strong education system, including many internationally renowned universities and research institutions, making it an attractive destination for those looking to further their education or career.
- Multicultural society: Germany is a multicultural society, with many immigrants and international workers, making it an inclusive and welcoming place for people from all backgrounds.
- Social security system: Germany has a comprehensive social security system, providing benefits such as health insurance, unemployment benefits, and pensions.
- Holidays and vacation time: Germany has a generous vacation time, usually around 30 days per year, and also offers many national holidays.
- High standard of living: Germany offers a high standard of living with relatively low cost of living in comparison to other developed countries. It also has a strong social welfare system and universal healthcare.
- Strong infrastructure: Germany has a well-developed infrastructure, including an efficient public transportation system and excellent healthcare facilities.
- Access to other European countries: Germany is centrally located in Europe, making it easy to travel to other European countries.
All these factors combined make Germany an attractive destination for people from all over the world who are looking for a new place to live and work.
Do you need a visa for Germany?
Differentiation is made between employment as a skilled worker and other forms of employment. Before taking up work, you must obtain a residence title that authorises you to be gainfully employed.* Prior to entering Germany, you must apply for a visa at the German mission abroad (Embassy or Consulate-General) responsible for your current place of residence.** In most cases, the visa can be issued only following approval by the Federal Employment Agency. If you have previously resided in Germany, the foreigners authority at your future place of residence must also give its approval. Normally, the German mission abroad is responsible for obtaining such approval. If all prerequisites are met, you will be issued a national visa with a validity of six months. During this time, you must apply for a German residence title at your local foreigners authority.
* Not applicable to individuals who fall under the EU freedom of movement regime. Freedom of movement within the EU applies to citizens of all European Union member states, as well as citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – who can enter Germany without a visa and must not obtain permission to take up employment. All third-country nationals accompanying these individuals are normally required to obtain an entry visa under a simplified procedure and will enjoy the same privileges as their family members who fall under the EU freedom of movement regime.
** If you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America, you can enter Germany without a visa. You can then submit an application for your German residence title at the foreigners authority of your future place of residence in Germany. If you wish to begin working immediately upon arrival prior to obtaining a German residence title, then you must apply for a visa.
There are two categories of skilled workers, those with professional training and those with academic training. Degrees earned abroad must be officially recognised in Germany. Skilled workers with professional training must have completed an officially recognised professional training programme, which according to German law must be at least two years in length. Skilled workers with academic training must have earned a degree from an institute of higher education. Skilled workers may take up a position only if it is considered qualified employment.
You may be issued a residence title for skilled workers that entitles you to take up employment:
- if your foreign degree or certificate* has been officially recognised;
- if you have already been offered a specific job offer – you must ask your future employer to fill out the “Declaration regarding a contract of employment” (Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis)**;
- if you have been issued written permission to exercise your profession (or if you have been expressly assured that you will receive this permission) and if you wish to work in a so-called regulated profession (e.g. in the health care sector);***
- if you meet the respective requirements for foreigners, e.g. a valid passport, secure means of support, etc.
Do not submit a visa application until you have met all of the requirements and are able to present a complete set of supporting documents. If your foreign degree or certificate has not yet been officially recognised, your visa application cannot be processed.
* If you have completed your professional training or higher education in Germany, then official recognition is not required. Different authorities are responsible for officially recognising foreign-earned degrees and certificates. For further information, please refer to:
- the hotline “Working and Living in Germany” (Arbeiten und Leben in Deutschland): +49 30 1815 - 1111
- Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen)
If you hold a degree from an institute of higher education and want to work in a non-regulated profession, confirmation that your degree is included in the anabin database may be sufficient. More information: https://anabin.kmk.org/anabin.html
** The required form is available here:
Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis (“Declaration regarding a contract of employment”)
Zusatzblatt A zum Formular (Supplement A to the form “Declaration regarding a contract of employment”) (only for visas to carry out the official recognition procedure)
Zusatzblatt B zum Formular “Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis” (Supplement B to the form “Declaration regarding a contract of employment”) (only for visas for secondments, ICT, staff exchanges)
For skilled workers the work must be subject to compulsory social insurance contributions in Germany. Special conditions apply to secondments.
*** Information on regulated professions can be found at www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. The authorities that issue written permission to exercise certain professions also determine whether or not they officially recognise your degree or certificate.
Visa for jobseekers
With the visa for the purpose of looking for a job in accordance with Section 20 (1) (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act), you improve your chances of making contact with German employers and finding a job in Germany that matches your qualifications.
To find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany, see Who Needs a Visa?
What are the requirements to receive a visa for jobseekers?
- You are able to provide proof of vocational or academic training.
- Your qualifications are recognised in Germany or are equivalent to a German degree or diploma. If you are seeking employment in a regulated profession, i.e. in healthcare, a professional practice permit is mandatory. For more information on the recognition procedure, please see Recognition.
- Have you completed vocational training? If so, you must provide proof of possessing the German language skills required for the job you are seeking. Generally speaking, a minimum level of B1 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.
- You are able to prove that you can cover your costs of living, since you are not able to enter into remunerated employment during this time. Proof of being able to cover living costs can be provided in the form of a blocked account or a Declaration of Commitment.