You’re an international student eyeing your post-graduation options in Germany. It’s a crossroads moment: dive into a PhD or venture into the job market. Your graduation is on the horizon and you’re probably wondering if international students can work in Germany after graduation.
Here’s the deal: post-graduation, you can obtain a “jobseeker for graduates” permit, allowing you to work part-time for 18 months. However, if you don’t find a job matching your degree within that period, securing a skilled work permit becomes challenging. You can seek a residency permit for unrelated jobs, but these positions are subject to the “Vorrangprüfung,” making both hiring and obtaining a work permit difficult.
There are so many factors you need to consider if you want to work in Germany after graduation as an international student. Can international students work in Germany after graduation? Yes! Don’t worry, I’ll give you all the info you need to make this important decision.
Work and Study in Germany for International Students
In Germany, many students, including those from abroad, often work part-time. This could be as research assistants in universities or other roles like waiters or babysitters. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can work up to 20 hours weekly during semesters, similar to German students, with no earnings limit during breaks.
Non-EU students can work 120 full days or 240 half-days yearly without needing approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Options include internships or self-employment, but for the latter, you must get approval from the Foreigners’ Authority to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your studies.
As an international student, proving financial self-sufficiency is crucial for extending your German residence title. If you’re working as a student assistant, you can be your own guarantor if you have a valid employment contract in Germany, earning at least €861 monthly (as of 2022). The contract’s duration should cover your residence title period.
Regarding employment as a qualified professional, you can accept job offers in Germany during your study. This requires switching to a residence permit for qualified employment and getting approval from the BA. This option is available even without completing your studies (Section 16b (4) Residence Act – AufenthG). Contact the Foreigners’ Authority for more information.
If studying doesn’t suit you, consider vocational training. To switch, you’ll need to change your residence permit and get BA approval. This path focuses more on practical skills (Section 16b (4) Residence Act – AufenthG). For details on the vocational training visa requirements, visit the Visa for vocational training section.
Always consult the Foreigners’ Authority for necessary documents before applying.
Is It Easy to Get Job in Germany After Masters
As an international student in Germany, you have a bright future after completing your Masters. The country’s new immigration laws, a topic of discussion for nearly two decades, were finally enacted in 2018 under Angela Merkel’s fourth government. Central to these laws is the removal of the priority examination clause, which previously favored German job applicants over equally qualified foreign applicants. This change, along with the allowance for skilled professionals to enter Germany temporarily to seek employment, mirrors the existing provisions for university graduates.
Germany’s economic growth has been hindered by a growing shortage of skilled workers. The Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) estimated that filling these gaps could boost the economy by EUR 30 billion annually. This need is intensified by an aging population and increasing pressure on pension funds.
For university graduates, Germany offers liberal immigration opportunities. Graduates from German universities can obtain a Job Seeker Visa for 18 months post-graduation. This visa allows them to seek employment or start a business, making Germany an attractive destination for international students.
If you’re an international student in Germany, your prospects for employment after your Masters are promising. You’ll need to extend your student visa and find a job that aligns with your qualifications.
The process involves several steps:
1. Apply for a post-study residence permit.
2. Adhere to German regulations.
3. Secure employment.
4. Apply for a Blue Card.
Remember, job hunting takes time, especially to find a position that aligns with your passion and field. German authorities recognize this by allowing students to apply for an 18-month residence permit post-education to secure a job.
However, be aware that your student residence visa expires immediately after your studies conclude. To stay and work in Germany, you must renew your residence permit. Ideally, begin this process in your final semester. Extend your residence permit for 18 months from your result announcement date to job hunt in Germany. The process involves visiting the Foreigners Registration Office, requesting a visa extension, submitting necessary documents, and awaiting approval for the next 18 months.
Work Permit in Germany After Masters
After completing your master’s degree, you have a promising chance to stay and work in Germany. Over 40% of international students choose to remain, drawn by Germany’s robust economy and career opportunities. The country is home to about 10 million people of foreign origin, as of 2022. Germany’s residence permit system is a significant factor in this trend, offering a straightforward path for international graduates to obtain a post-study work visa. However, you must fulfill certain legal criteria to qualify.
Navigating the process to settle in Germany can be complex, but the outlook is generally favorable for graduates.
A German residence permit, or Aufenthaltstitel, allows non-EU nationals to live in Germany. It’s essential for you as a non-EU students to obtain this permit for studying or internships in Germany. There are two main types: the limited Aufenthaltserlaubnis and the unlimited Niederlassungserlaubnis. The permit is temporary and purpose-specific, like for education or research.
For non-EU students, a residence permit is crucial to stay in Germany for up to 18 months after graduation, seeking employment relevant to their studies. This period starts once you receive your final exam results and cannot be extended. You must prove financial stability and active job search efforts in your field. DAAD recommends avoiding jobs that don’t require specialized skills during this period, though you’re not restricted from taking any job.
To obtain the permit, you’ll need to show proof of your completed education, health insurance, and financial sustainability.
Job hunting in Germany post-graduation can be a race against time. Be proactive and start looking at least four months before your course ends. Broaden your job search beyond your degree, avoiding a narrow focus. Consider small and medium-sized companies, which form the backbone of Germany’s economy. Proficiency in German is advantageous, as many university programs include language courses. Useful job search channels include university and DAAD alumni networks, university career services, online job portals, and job fairs.
Once you land a job, you can convert your study residence permit to a work-based one. Non-EU nationals can opt for a qualified professional work permit or an EU Blue Card. The former is valid for up to four years or the duration of your contract. Requirements include a valid employment contract, recognized qualifications, a passport, and a visa application form.
The EU Blue Card, aimed at highly qualified non-EU nationals, requires a German or equivalent degree, a relevant job offer, and a certain salary threshold. It’s valid for up to four years and can lead to a settlement permit after 33 or 21 months with proven German language skills.
The work visa application process involves document preparation, an embassy appointment, applying in your home country, traveling to Germany, and applying for a residence permit through the Foreigners’ Authority. Visa application costs around EUR 75, and the residence permit application in Germany can cost up to EUR 100.
Finally, as an international student with a work visa, you can aim for a settlement permit. Requirements include two years of employment as a qualified professional, job suitability, pension insurance contributions, German proficiency, and adequate living space.
How Many Hours Can International Students Work in Germany
If you’re from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, like German students, you can work up to 20 hours weekly during term time. There’s no limit on work hours during semester breaks. For students from non-EU countries with a study residence permit, the rule is different: you’re allowed to work either 120 full days or 240 half days annually, without needing approval from the Federal Employment Agency.
You can also consider self-employment during your studies in Germany. But, this requires permission from the Foreigners Authority. They’ll ensure your self-employed work doesn’t hinder your study goals or lead to a change in your residence purpose due to excessive time commitment.
Moreover, as an international student from a non-EU country, you have additional options under the German Residence Act. If you decide to stop studying before graduation, you can switch to qualified vocational training. You’ll need to apply for a new residence permit for vocational training under the Act.
There’s also a provision for taking up full-time employment before finishing your studies. This applies if your acquired skills and knowledge make you job-ready. It’s an option for students considering dropping out and seeking new opportunities in Germany. In such cases, with a concrete job offer, you can apply to change your residence purpose. You might be granted a residence permit for a qualified profession or for other employment purposes.
Can international students work in Germany after graduation? Absolutely YES! You’ll find ample job opportunities after graduation in Germany. This nation, being one of the world’s largest economies, hosts thousands of companies across diverse sectors. As a graduate, your prospects for employment are favorable, with many employers actively seeking skilled professionals. To optimize your chances, it’s wise to begin your job search in your final semester at university. This approach helps you understand the job market, set realistic expectations, and explore various options.
Remember, proficiency in German can significantly enhance your job prospects. Even if your course is in English, dedicating time to learn German is crucial. It not only aids in job hunting but also in faster settlement permit acquisition, socializing, networking, and navigating life in Germany effortlessly.
Germany’s vibrant cities and its status as Europe’s economic powerhouse create a fertile ground for career opportunities in various sectors. If you plan to stay in Germany post-graduation, start strategizing while you’re still studying. Gaining internship experience during your studies is invaluable.
This guide offers practical advice for staying in Germany after your studies and carving out a successful future for yourself.