Let us first say that working in Germany it is not difficult. In fact, the unemployment rate in Germany is about 5%, well below the European average of 7.3%. But there are also significant differences within Germany; it is much easier to find work in the western regions than in the eastern regions (former East Germany).
Germany is the third largest immigration country in the world, after the United States and Russia there are about 10 million immigrants, the first three nationalities are:
- Turks: 1,500,000
- Poles: 750.000
- Italians: 600.000
Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world and offers many immigrants the opportunity to find a job and live in the country. According to a survey of German entrepreneurs, the shortage of personnel worries them even more than the euro crisis and the rise of populists. According to the survey, 400,000 new workers would be needed each year. In 2019 (before Covid 19), for example, 700,000 new jobs were created, of which only 330,000 were filled by Germans, the rest being covered by new immigrants.
Working in Germany
For several years, the government has had a plan to encourage the immigration of skilled immigrants, which includes the establishment of public employment offices for foreigners ZAV,(Zentralstelle für Auslandsvermittlung). Here you will find a variety of information and job opportunities. The site is available in Arabic and English as well as in German. Also created make-it in Germany the portal of the federal government for employees from abroad. Here you can find information about jobs, visa & living in Germany.
Public employment offices in Germany
Employment offices (foreign placement offices), there are more than eight hundred offices throughout Germany. In these offices there are many job offers, you can look at the job ads if you know German.
Public employment offices in Germany, for immigrants
For foreigners looking for work there is an Arbeitsämter department called ZAV (Zentralstelle für Auslandsvermittlung). Here you will find a variety of information and job opportunities. The site is available in Arabic and English as well as in German. This office is aimed at foreigners and sometimes it is possible to find job offers for people who do not speak German but have the qualifications they are looking for. I have personally seen ads for nurses, drivers, etc. here.
Leihfirma / Zeitfirma
Another possibility to look for work is by Leihfirma/Zeitfirma. These are temporary agencies that hire manpower. You are an employee of these agencies and they send you to work for companies that need staff, for a certain time. This is an interesting solution for those who do not know German and therefore are not yet able to look for work on their own.
To find work by these agencies, look on the internet, in the city where you are living, go directly to their offices with your CV and once you have filled out the forms, wait for their job call. The time it takes to find a job depends on:
- Your level of German
- whether your work is in demand
- whether you have a car or not (to go to work)
Working in Germany with Leihfirma / Zeitfirma has its pros and cons
- You do not have to worry about finding a job (the agency will find it for you)
- You will find jobs for which you do not need to know German (although it is becoming more and more difficult to work without knowing German)
- You have the possibility to be hired directly by the company you work for, if your contract with temporary agency has expired.
- it is possible to change jobs frequently
- You earn less than workers hired directly by the company where you work (because a certain percentage goes to the agency).
Example of a Leihfirma with branches in many cities, Avjs
Private Employment Agencies
Private employment agencies not only help job seekers, but also assist companies in recruiting new employees. Example of a private employment agency: Manpower
Germany is attractive to workers, and there are still many people moving to the country. The type of work that can be done in Germany depends on the knowledge of the German language. The better the language skills, the greater the chances of employment.
However, there are some professions for which it is not necessary to know the German language in order to work in Germany.
Working in Germany without knowing German
- Hospitality, occupations such as cook, pizza maker, ice cream maker, waiter. Only a basic knowledge of German is required.
- Sectors where there is a great shortage of skilled workers. For example, for nurses or workers in the health sector in general, there are agencies that hire workers and teach them German
- Professionals in large multinational companies where English can be used.
Working in Germany knowing German
In all other cases, knowledge of German is required, and the level of language required depends on the type of work performed. Dishwashers, cleaners, assembly line workers, etc. require a basic level, while other types of employment require a better knowledge of German. To apply for these low-skilled jobs, you must already reside in Germany, have a German residence and a German tax number, otherwise your applications will not be considered.
Before moving to Germany, you should acquire at least A2-B1 proficiency in the German language. You can learn the language in two ways: in your country or directly in Germany (if you are an EU citizen).
- In Germany, for example, you can work as an au pair for a while. EU citizens only need: Age: 18 – 30 years. A valid passport or identity card. As a non-EU citizen you need a visa and must meet the following requirements: Age: 18 – 26 years, basic knowledge of the German language, au pair contract, health insurance, letter of invitation
- you can use the opportunities offered by websites like HelpX or Workaway
- you can get a seasonal job in a farm
In short, there are several ways to live in Germany without spending money and learning German.
If you are studying and can foresee that Germany could be a future destination for your profession, take advantage of the Erasmus projects to study there for a year.
In any case, you should know that the better your command of the language, the better your chances of getting a good job. So I advise you to invest in yourself by taking a German course or buying a good book.
The labour market is very dynamic and it is not difficult to find work in Germany. Of course, the demand may be higher or lower depending on the type of profession and the city where you are looking for a job. For example, according to the Make-it portal, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in Germany such as engineers, IT and healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses.
I remind you that there is a minimum wage in Germany, set at €1,744 for 2022. (€ 12.0 / hour, gross).
Work visa in Germany
To live and work in Germany you need a work visa and a residence permit (except for EU citizens, Liechtenstein citizens, Norwegians and Swiss)
- University graduates can apply for an EU Blue Card
- You can get it very quickly
- You do not need a permit from ZAV if your salary is over 56,800 €.
- You can change jobs whenever you want without having to update your Blue Card
- You can get your permanent residence permit faster. After 33 months, EU Blue Card holders can obtain a settlement permit. In some cases, a settlement permit can be granted after only 21 months. in 33 months
- EU Blue Card holders who have been in the country for more than 18 months can move to another EU country.
- You need a university degree, which must be recognised in Germany
- You must prove that you have been offered a job with a gross annual salary of at least €56,400. For employees in the fields of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine, a gross annual salary of at least €44,304 is required.
2 Employment Visa
Everyone must apply for a work visa and is encouraged to apply for a work visa to Germany for non-EU citizens with a university degree or alternatively with a professional qualification who meet these conditions:
- There is a shortage of skilled workers in your profession
- You have a concrete job offer
- Your education must be recognized as equivalent to a German qualification
- Your employer must be in Germany
- You must have the approval of the ZAV
- You must have health insurance and a place to live in Germany
- You do not have to speak German to obtain a German work visa
Application in Germany
- If you are a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you can come to Germany, find a job, and then apply for a work visa or blue card in Germany.
- If you are a citizen of another country, you can come to Germany, find a job, and then apply for a work visa or blue card in Germany. You cannot work until you have a work visa or Blue Card.
Application from your country
- You must have a job offer in Germany. It is important that your recognised qualifications enable you to do the job for which you are to be hired. You can apply for work visa for qualified professionals
- You can start working as soon as you arrive in Germany
Visa for self-employment
- Starting a business. If you want to start a business and you meet the requirements, you can obtain a visa for self-employment
- Freelancer. If you want to work as a freelancer in one of the liberal professions, you can obtain a visa for self-employment
Working Holiday Visa
- If you are between 18 and 31 years old, you can apply for Working Holiday Visa. The visa gives you the right to work in Germany for up to 1 year.
The Working Holiday Visa can only be applied for by citizens of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, SAR Hong Kong, Taiwan and Uruguay.
Youth Mobility Visa
- Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 can apply for the Youth Mobility Visa.The youth mobility visa is similar to the working holiday visa. You can work in Germany for up to one year.
Working in Germany: useful resources
I point out some very useful websites if you intend to move to Germany for work:
- Make it in Germany, the portal, which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Economics, is aimed specifically at those who want to move to Germany to work. It contains a wealth of information about Germany and how to find employment in the country. Anyone planning a move can not help but read this site. Also available in English, French and Spanish
- Guide to working in Germany
- A guide to living and working in Germany, living and working in the heart of Germany
- Welcome to Nuremberg, information for skilled workers
- Employment of Foreign Workers in Germany, questions, answers and information
- For the recognition and conversion of international qualifications and degrees you can refer to the website of the German Naric, the national agency designated by the German government.
- In the German government website you will find more information on the conversion of educational qualifications and much more.
If you have problems with your employer, you can go to the labor court and hire a labor lawyer. If you win the case, your employer must pay your legal fees; otherwise, you must pay them yourself. Even if you are in the right, you should only contact a lawyer if you have evidence to support your claims: Photos, videos, written documents, contracts, witnesses in your favor, etc. (and get everything in writing, because people often change their minds). Remember that if you work illegally and do not report it, you are partly responsible for the crime.
The probationary period is not regulated by law in Germany. It is agreed between employer and employee. Normally it is three months. The maximum is six months. In the hospitality industry or other unskilled professions, it is usually a few days. The trial days can be paid or unpaid, this is also decided by the two parties. According to the law, a “trial period contract” should be drawn up for the trial period.
I would also like to point out info migrants with information about the non-profit association for the support of immigrants in Germany
Looking for work in Germany
There are several ways to look for work in Germany. First, you must write your CV in German and attach your letter of application (bewerbung). For job search you can use:
1. Linkedin,trying to build a network of contacts in your professional field
2. Xing, is a social network about work, which has more than 8 million users in Germany.each user can create his own resume after registration to get in touch with other users and be contacted by them.
3.Search for companies, you can search for companies and apply online. Attach your resume and cover letter.
- Europages,you can choose the sector you are interested in (e.g. energy)
- Kompass, you can check if the company you are interested in is represented in Germany
- Yellow Pages german yellow pages
4. Eures, the European job search website
5. Job Fairs
In Germany, job fairs take place at regular intervals in many German cities. This is a good opportunity to get to know companies and new job opportunities.
Job search websites
- Jobboerse, job search website of the German civil service, available in several languages, you can download the application
- The Local, job vacancies for english speaking
- Jobware, website, which also contains numerous examples of resumes and cover letters
- Kimeta, one of the most used job search engines
- Stepstone, besides job search there is a possibility to post your CV so that interested companies have a chance to see it
- JobsDE, one of the most used websites in Germany
- Job Stairs, job ads (in German and English)
- Stellen, very popular job search website
- Regio, offers the possibility to search by region and also includes Austria
- Youfirm, mainly specialized in some sectors: Trade, IT, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmaceutical, Transportation, Marketing
- Monster, very well known online recruiting agency, german version
- Adzuna, another very popular website in Germany
- Adecco, german version of the well-known international agency with many job offers
- Randstad, german version of this agency which mainly deals with jobs in technology, finance and accounting
- Gi Group, employment agency with offers for temporary or permanent employment
- Carrier jet, german version of the well-known international job search engine
- MV4 you, specialist workforce agency for the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region
Job search websites for specific careers
- Job Vector, job offers in the field IT, divided by categories
- IT Treff, one of the most comprehensive job search websites in IT
- DV Treff, job vacancies for SAP
- ICT Job, IT sector job vacancies
- Softwareentwikler, job offers throughout Germany
- Mediengestalter,job offers for graphic artists, designers and programmers
- Job World job offers for the IT sector
Tourism and Hospitality
- Hotel Career, job offers in hospitality
- Gastro Jobs, job offers in hospitality
- Touristik, job offers in tourism
Creative and Artistic
- Dausage,german site with job offers for artistic and creative people
- Music Job, website with job offers in the music sector
- Precore, website with many job offers for artistic and creative people
- Mandy, international website for artistic people
- Creative Set, creative jobs
- Thea Polis, musical and theater Jobs
- Buhnenjobs, musical and theater Jobs
- Job Vector, job vacancies in the healthcare sector
- Medizinischer,website for job search for medical staff and hospital staff
- Jobvector, job offers in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, etc.
- Green Job, vacancies in the environmental and energy fields
Media e Marketing
- Horizont, employment opportunities in marketing and media
- Medien, job offers in all media sectors, divided by categories
- Radioszene, job offers in the radio sector
- PR Journal, job offers mainly for journalists
- Marketing Job, vacancies in all areas of marketing
- Stellemarkt, employment opportunities in marketing and media
- Crew United, website of art, cinema and journalism. Database of actors and actresses
Jobs for students and recent graduates
- Student Job, website with job offers for students and young graduates
- Studi Doo, job offers and internships for students and young graduates
- Jobber, jobs for students or recent graduates
- Schuelerjobs, another site with job offers for young people
- Bonding is a website that is very well known among young Germans. Their business is based on organizing numerous job fairs throughout the country.
- Map Job,job offers in the agricultural sector, divided by categories
- Land Jobs, job offers in the agricultural sector
- Agrar Zeitung, agricultural works
- Agrar Jobborse,agricultural works
Some federal states websites for information and job search
- BW Jobs, the website of Baden-Wuerttemberg and its capital Stuttgart contains useful information on how to find a job, how to find an flat, who to contact when you arrive, and so on. Very useful if you plan to move here. Also in English
- Thaff, a Thuringian site, offers information and job opportunities. Also in the English language version
- Mags, website of North Rhine-Westphalia and its capital Duesseldorf, contains information about the work in this federal state, only in german language
- Welcome Center,site of the city of Stuttgart, with lots of information about life, study and work. Also in English.
My advice, if you have not already settled on a destination in Germany, is to choose a medium-sized city where the job market is good but where it is still possible to find a place to live without too many problems. As big cities, I would alternatively name Frankfurt, Berlin or Hamburg.
In summary, if you speak German and are a good professional, Germany is perfect and you will certainly be rewarded. If you do not speak the language and have no qualifications or professional skills, you risk being exploited, especially in the beginning. So expect deprivations and humiliations, at least until you have achieved sufficient German skills.
If you have no contacts in Germany, I recommend that you make an appointment with the German consulate in your country before you leave. Make an appointment to get all the necessary information. Also ask for tips and advice that could be very helpful to you.
Working in Germany in tourism and hospitality
When we think about working in Germany, we certainly do not think of tourism, but tourism is an important sector for the German economy. More than 30 million tourists from all over the world visit Germany every year. Recently, the government has been working hard to promote tourism, so there is a great demand for workers in the hospitality industry.
Before the pandemic, tourists spent an average of over 80 million nights.
Among the most visited places in Germany, Berlin stands out, the capital of the country, a cosmopolitan city with a frenetic activity day and night. Here you can find employment as a cook, kitchen assistant, waiter, etc. The job offer in the hospitality industry is always high.
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a welcoming city with many hotels and restaurants.
Frankfurt, the economic and financial center of the country, has a very wide range of gastronomic services, mainly aimed at business customers, and is always in need of employees in the hospitality industry.
Hamburg, considered by many to be the second most important city, has a very important seaport and many tourists.
Cologne, with its Gothic cathedral as the main attraction, is a very touristy city with a wide range of professions in the hospitality industry.
Dresden, the Florence on the Elbe, the capital of Saxony with its baroque architecture and enchanting landscapes, is the destination of many tourists every year.
These and many other places such as Baden-Baden, Freiburg, the Black Forest, etc. offer many opportunities for those who want to work in this sector.
Nurse job in Germany
In Germany, there is a high demand in the health sector (doctors, physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses, OSS, etc.). But nurses are most in demand.
It goes without saying that to work in a hospital and deal with doctors and / or patients you need to know German, but in many cases it is possible to be hired even without language skills.
The agencies will enroll the nurses in language courses before they start working
Working in Germany, conclusion
Let us analyze the different points related to working in Germany: What is the biggest difficulty you have in finding a job in Germany?
The first problem is that of language. To work in Germany, you have to know German. Apart from working in gastronomic establishments run by compatriots, many believe that knowing English is enough to find a job, but in reality, nowadays it is necessary to know German.
On the Internet, you often read posts from people who say that with good will and a little luck, you can definitely find work, even without knowing a word of German. Unfortunately, we are not in the 60’s anymore, every day more and more people come looking for work to compete with, and those who know the language are preferred. The competition, especially for less qualified jobs, is very tough.
Turks and Ukrainians who are not members of the EU are forced to learn German in order to obtain an entry visa, with the result that they end up speaking German better than many Europeans and are therefore at an advantage when looking for work. Another important problem is the homologation of educational qualifications
What are the most effective ways to find work in Germany?
It is essential to analyze the German labor market in advance and see which profiles are most in demand in the different regions of the country.
For example, Berlin is considered the new London because it is a center of attraction for many foreigners, but it is a city with an unemployment rate of about 8% (that is, higher than the German average).
It is still lower than many other countries, but it could still be one of the areas to move to with caution. It is much easier to find work in the south of the country, for example in Bavaria or Stuttgart, where there is full employment.
One thing you should be wary of is internet scammers. Some websites offer fake employment contracts. Be very careful, choose only reputable sites and do not sign anything from your country if you are not completely sure, and in any case, as the German unions also recommend, read very carefully what you sign.
What kind of work can you find?
Each Lander has its own characteristics, and the type of labour needed also varies. In general, statistics show that the most demanded profiles are engineers, health professionals and information technology experts.
What about the quality of the work?
This aspect is often connected with the problem of qualification. It may happen that not all titles are recognised. Therefore, people who have a certain professional profile must first perform simpler work. Or it may happen that companies require you to have excellent language skills, so until you achieve them, you are forced to do a different type of work than the one you had set out to do.
While it is true that unemployment in Germany today is low and in some areas there is full employment, that does not mean that once you are here you can immediately work in the sector you want. Sometimes you have to adapt to what comes your way, such as minijobs (lower-paying part-time jobs). particularly in demand.
Is it expensive to live in Germany?
The daily cost of living, from the supermarket to the Internet, is about the same as in other European countries. The big problem is housing. One of the reasons many go to Berlin is that rents here are lower than in southern Germany, where it is also more difficult to rent an flat because an employment contract and other guarantees are always required,
Is it better to look for work in Germany or the UK?
Currently, Germany guarantees more stability than the UK due to Brexit. There are also more job vacancies there than in the UK, and it is also more open to European citizens.
For example The German Immigration Office (BAMF) the Office organizes various activities to promote the integration of foreigners. The Germans are more open-minded than the British in this regard. It is likely that it will be easier to work in England because of a language problem, but keep in mind that in both countries you will probably work in positions below your professional level.
How many people come back to their homeland?
A study by the German Immigration ServiceDepartment says that the number of foreigners coming to Germany is increasing, but over 30% do not stay even a year. This shows that it is easy to leave full of illusions, but then the reality is very different.