Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland: If you’d like to live in Germany, you must be able to support yourself financially. As a citizen of the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland, you will not require a work permit to work in Germany.
Citizens of a non-EU country: If you wish to work here, you will need a visa that expressly allows you to work in Germany. For an initial assessment of whether or not you could be approved for a work visa in Germany, please visit Quick-Check.
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Isreal, Japan, New Zeland, South Korea and the USA: Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Canadian, South Korean, New Zealand and US citizens may enter Germany without a visa.Yet if they intend to work in Germany, they cannot commence their intended employment until they have a residence permit. They may obtain a residence permit from the relevant foreigners authority.
Qualified, skilled workers are needed in some, but not all, professional sectors within the region. You can find an overview of the professions currently experiencing shortages in qualified personnel here: White List
Citizens of the EU have access to the European Commission’s EURES European Job Mobility Portal, which lists job openings in Germany and 30 other European countries, as well as information on the living and working conditions in each country and EURES consultants’ contact information. Users can also create their own profile including their CV, which can then be accessed by interested employers.
If you are not yet living in Germany, you can find job vacancies that match your profile through the International Placement Services (“ZAV” – “Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung”): ZAV.
If you already live in Germany, you can also contact the Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”, or “BA”) in your town: Federal Employment Agency. You can also search for jobs nationwide via their online job portal .
Many jobs are also listed in regional newspapers like the “Badische Zeitung” and “Offenburger Tagblatt”. You can also find listing in regional classifieds papers like the “Zypresse”. Job listings are predominantly featured in the Wednesday and Saturday issues. In addition, you can also check nationwide newspapers, online job portals, and company websites directly for various job opportunities. Company websites usually list current openings under the categories “Jobs” or “Careers” (“Karriere”).
Tip: feel free to get in touch with potential employers directly and establish personal contact.
Companies will expect to receive a written application. Certificates, reference letters, and other important documents should be translated into German. Some companies may also require certified copies of your documents. You can receive certification for your documents at your local municipal office (“Bürgeramt”) or city hall (“Rathaus”).
Your application should include:
Curriculum vitae (CV) with photo and signature
Certificates, references, certificates of employment (translated into German)
You can also find further information and get assistance with your CV at Europass.
You can find a list of accredited translators in the Freiburg - Southern Upper Rhine region here: Translators
Recognition of professional qualifications in Germany
In order to work in certain professions (so-called “regulated professions” such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.), you must first apply for recognition of your educational degree(s). A regulated profession is a profession for which one must achieve and practice special professional qualifications. You can find a database of all the regulated professions here: Regulated Professions. While recognition is not a prerequisite for exercising a non-regulated profession, it can make your qualifications more understandable for your employer. Therefore, applying for recognition of all professional qualifications is advisable.
You can get advice on the recognition of your degree here:
You can check to see whether you need recognition for your degree here:
The recognition process is usually subject to fees.
Pay close attention to which documents must be submitted with your application for recognition. Typically, the documents must be translated and certified. You can find more information about the recognition process here: Recognition.
Interview and employment contract
If you’re invited to an interview, you’ve successfully completed the first big hurdle! The interview is the chance for you and the company to get to know each other better. Be sure to prepare yourself thoroughly before the interview. We suggest consulting the application section of the “Make it in Germany” website and reviewing their application guide.
You got the job? Congratulations! The last step is to sign the work contract provided by your employer. Verbal contracts are a rarity in Germany. Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing. If you don’t understand all of the information contained in the contract, please check with the company’s HR manager. You can also find further information about employment contracts in the employment contract section of the “Make it in Germany” website.
Labor laws: working hours, vacation, and illness
Working hours: A full-time position includes approximately 40 working hours per week. It’s also possible to work part-time. The maximum number of working hours per week is limited by law. Work is legally permitted on all workdays (Monday to Saturday), as is nighttime and shift work. In many areas, for example in the health sector, gastronomy, and public transportation, it is also allowed to work on Sundays and public holidays.
Vacation: Those who work five days a week are legally entitled to at least 20 vacation days a year.
Illness: It’s important that you inform your company immediately if you’re sick. If you suffer from a long-term illness, your company will continue to pay your full salary for 6 weeks. After these 6 weeks, your health insurance will continue to pay you a certain percentage of your usual salary. You can receive more detailed information directly from your health insurance company.
Termination: In Germany, the procedure for terminating employment is regulated by law. Periods of notice must be adhered to by both the employer and employee.
You must pay income tax in Germany. As an employee, you will receive the net amount of your income through automatic deposit to your bank account. Your company will have already deducted pension insurance, health insurance, unemployment insurance, and long-term care insurance from your salary and paid the insurance providers directly. In addition, income tax, solidarity tax, and church tax (when applicable) will have also already been deducted and paid to the tax office (“Finanzamt”). You can find further information regarding taxes at your respective tax office and the Federal Ministry of Finance: Federal Ministry of Finance - Taxation.
Germany has a very well developed social security system. As most employees are obligated to pay into social security, you will most likely be insured against the main risks, such as illness, work-related accidents or unemployment. You are required to pay a fixed percentage of your earned income into the various social security programs (pension, health, unemployment, accident, and nursing insurance).Your employer must also pay a fixed share of the costs. Both shares will be automatically transferred from your employer to the insurance companies. You can find further information in the social security section of the “Make it in Germany” website.
Tax identification number: any person registered in Germany will receive an 11-digit tax identification number. You will need this number for all matters relating to taxation and the tax office. Newly registered people who have moved to Germany from abroad will receive this number automatically in the mail within 3 months.
Social security number: your employer will register you with the social security office. You will receive a letter from the pension insurance office with your social security number. Be sure to keep this number in a safe place, as you’ll often have to use it in the future.