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I am a foreign national interested in working in Germany. What opportunities are open to me?

Foreign nationals other than European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals may reside in Germany for the purpose of taking up gainful employment if they have a residence permit which explicitly authorises them to do so. Foreigners’ access to the labour market is limited by the Ordinance on the admission of foreigners for the purpose of taking up employment. Access is in principle limited to certain occupational groups and normally requires the approval of the employment authorities, nonetheless there are numerous exceptions to this principle. In fact in recent years, various legislative measures have further liberalised access to the German labour market.

For unskilled and low-skilled workers access to the labour market remains limited. In contrast, in the case of highly-qualified foreign nationals such as university graduates, the legal barriers to working in Germany have been further reduced.

As from 1 August 2012 people with a recognized university degree or a degree comparable to a German degree will, under the EU Blue Card system, have easier access to the labour market. To obtain the Blue Card, they must simply furnish proof of their qualifications and a concrete job offer that would provide annual gross earnings of at least 47.600 euros (2014). In these cases the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is not required.

In the case of highly qualified foreign nationals with a background in mathematics, IT, the natural sciences or technology as well as medical doctors, the EU Blue Card facilities and arrangements also apply, provided they are offered the same salaries as comparable German employees and their annual gross earnings would be at least 37.128 euros (2014). In these cases the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is required.

Seeking employment in Germany

Since 1 August 2012 foreign graduates with a German or other recognized university degree or a foreign degree comparable to a German degree will be eligible to enter Germany to seek employment. Holders of a jobseeker's visa may stay in Germany for up to six months to seek employment. To obtain a jobseeker's visa, applicants must simply furnish proof of their university degree and that they can support themselves for the duration of their planned stay. While seeking employment, jobseekers are not permitted to work, whether on a self-employed basis or otherwise.

Please find more information on the following webpages:

Migration Check

Make it in Germany

Federal Employment Agency

Studying and working in Germany

Here you will find more about access to the German labour market and finding work in Germany:

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