Work in Germany – A comprehensive handbook to begin

Germany is currently competing with other well-known expat destinations, such as Canada and New Zealand, to attract the best of skills. Therefore, is working particularly hard at competing with these countries to be seen as an attractive place to live and work by providing the flexibility of short working hours, plentiful vacation, and public holidays.

The Skilled Immigration Act, which entered into force on 1 March 2020, has put new rules in place which make it easier for foreign qualified professionals to come to Germany. The Skilled Immigration Act amends both residence rules and rules set out for the Employment of Foreigners to facilitate the successful recruitment of skilled workers from abroad.

Graduates and skilled workers with vocational qualifications from outside the EU will now enjoy access to all occupations in which workers are being sought as long as they have a comparable qualification which can be used and to work in Germany.

These terms cover the following groups of people:

  • Persons who have successfully completed an academic or vocational course
  • Trainees and advanced students
  • Persons with qualifications going through procedures to recognise their qualifications
  • Experts and specialists with practical job-related expertise

In line with the Freedom of Movement Act/EU, nationals of the EU and the EEA enjoy unrestricted access to the German labour market. These same rules apply to Swiss nationals. So, they do not need a visa or a residence permit to take up employment in Germany.

The nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America can enter without a visa and can obtain the necessary residence permit for the taking up of employment from the relevant foreigners registration office in Germany once they have arrived in the country and can start working as soon as they receive the residence permit. But, it may still be worth applying for the visa to work in Germany before you come. If this is done, the person can start working as soon as they arrive in Germany.

Nationals of all other countries (called “third countries”) require a visa to enter Germany and which must be converted into a residence permit once they are in Germany so that they can live and work in Germany.

Many qualified professionals from abroad find it difficult to look for employment from third countries. The lack of proximity to German firms is a big disadvantage for them.

In order to facilitate the matching between job seekers from abroad and the employer, skilled workers can be granted a visa for the purpose of finding a job if they meet the following requirements:

  • The qualification obtained abroad is recognized in Germany or is comparable with a German qualification.
  • They are able to maintain themselves in Germany.
  • More details can found here

This visa or the residence permit is issued for a maximum of six months and cannot be extended for this purpose. If you succeed in finding a job, the residence permit to take up employment can be applied for from the relevant foreigners registration office without leaving Germany. The employment then can be commenced, once this residence permit has been issued.

If you possess the visa or residence permit for the purpose of seeking employment, you are permitted to take up employment for up to ten hours a week.

As a qualified professional your route of immigrating to Germany to continue your career envelops a number of factors including:

  • Professions in Demand
  • Recognition
  • Job Application
  • Work Contract

Professions in Demand for Work in Germany

According to German economic research companies, Germany faces a shortage of skilled workers in a number of professions. These categories include the Healthcare Sector, IT Sector and mathematicians.

With a steady economic growth and a low employment rate, Germany also offers well-paid designations in banks, insurance firms, software and security companies.

Such designations include:

  • Nursing professionals
  • Physicians
  • Engineers
  • Scientists
  • IT Specialists
  • Vocational Teachers – English

Recognition for Professions to work in Germany

Professionals belonging to Germany’s Regulated Professions, such as nurses, doctors, teachers, and lawyers, require Recognition of their foreign qualifications or professional licenses in Germany before beginning work.

A complete list of the regulated professions can be found on the Regulated Professions Database or you can assess if your profession is regulated or not through the Recognition Finder.

A recognition to work will not be required, if you want to work in an academic, Non-Regulated Profession, such as computer scientist, mathematician or economist. However, it is advisable to apply for a verification of equivalency that can increase your chances on the German job market.

The complete recognition process can be found through Recognition in Germany.

Job Applications

Job Applications in Germany necessarily mandate the use of Cover Letters with CVs. It is highly advisable to include well designed formatted cover letters describing your strengths, explanatory interest in the profile, and presentation of why you are an ideal candidate.

The Curriculum vitae, for your job application in Germany, must always enlist your Personal details, Professional Experience in chronological order, Education, Language Skills, and your interests.

Mostly, there are set formats for the formal design of the CV to be presented in the labor market, which can be found on The Europass.

Work Contract

After you procure a job, the first thing in order is Congratulations!

The next is obviously the work-contract. A better insight of these contracts can be found in the ‘Contracts of Employment‘ section of our article German Laws and German Legal System.