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Posted on August 05 2019

Looking to work in Germany? Your visa options decoded

By  Editor
Updated April 03 2023

Germany is a popular destination for jobseekers across the world. The reasons are many:

  • Fast-growing economy
  • Job opportunities in the field of engineering, IT and the manufacturing sectors
  • Wages or salaries are higher compared to other countries
  • The German government has made consistent efforts to assimilate foreigners in the workforce

Germany is the largest economy in Europe and in a bid to meet the shortage of skilled workers in several sectors, the government has devised various work visa options to encourage people from other countries to apply for work here.

Looking to work in Germany, Your visa options decoded

In 2017 immigrants were 14.8% of the German population. The country needs 400,000 migrants in a year to meet their skills shortage. It offers one of the quickest visa decision processes.  Germany offers competitive salaries, great benefits and access to the EU once you get a visa.

If you are considering employment in Germany what are the options that you have?  What work visa are you eligible for? What are the privileges you get? Read further for answers.

In this article:
  1. Work visa for European Union (EU)residents
  2. Work visa for non-EU residents
  3. EU Blue Card
  4. Job Seeker Visa
  5. Self-employment visa

Work visa for EU residents:

If you belong to a country that is part of the EU you need not apply for permission to working in Germany.   You are also exempted from applying for a work permit. As an EU citizen, you and your family members are free to enter the country and seek employment.

Citizens belonging to European countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, also enjoy the same privileges as EU citizens. These citizens require a valid passport or identity card to live and work in Germany. But they will have to register their residence within three months of entering the country.

Work visa for non-EU residents:

If you are a citizen of a non-EU nation you must apply for a work visa and a residence permit before you travel to the country. You must approach the German embassy or consulate in your country for them. Your application must include the following:

  • Job offer letter from the firm in Germany
  • Valid passport
  • Annexure for an employment permit
  • Certificates of academic qualification
  • Certificates of work experience
  • Approval letter from the Federal Employment Agency

If you intend to bring your family to Germany when you are working there, the following conditions apply:

  • Your income must be enough to support you and your family
  • You must be able to provide housing for your family
  • Your family members must have a basic understanding of the German language
  • Your children must be below 18 years

 EU Blue card:

You are eligible for the EU blue card if you have a graduate or undergraduate degree from a recognized university and have secured a job with an annual gross salary of 52,000 Euros (as of 2018) in Germany before moving there.

You are eligible for the EU Blue card if you have graduated from a German university or are a highly skilled professional in the field of either mathematics, IT, life sciences or engineering or are a medical professional. The conditions are you must earn a salary comparable to German workers.

Privileges of The EU Blue Card:

  • Allowed to stay in Germany for four years
  • Eligible for permanent residency after two or three years
  • Spouse and children are eligible to come with you
  • Family members eligible for the work permit

 Jobseeker visa:

This visa was approved as per new immigration laws passed by the German government in May this year. This visa allows skilled workers from other countries to come to Germany and search for a job. This visa was introduced to solve the problem of skills shortage in several areas.

With this visa, you can stay in Germany for six months and look for a job there. The eligibility requirements for this visa are:

  • Have at least 5years of work experience in a field related to your study
  • Proof of 15 years of regular education
  • English proficiency is mandatory to qualify for this visa, but it is advisable that you learn German as well to live in Germany
  • You must have enough funds for a six-month stay in Germany
  • You must show your accommodation proof for the six months

 ZAB Statement of Comparability:

When submitting your educational qualifications, get a statement of comparability for your qualification. The German government offers a certificate called the ZAB statement of comparability that describes a foreign higher education qualification, its professional and academic usage. This will make it easier for a German employer to consider your educational level and relevant work experience when you apply for a job. This facility is available for vocational courses as well.

Once you have found a job, you can immediately apply for the EU Blue card or the residence permit. After a few years of successfully staying and working in Germany, you can bring in your family members and even apply for permanent residence.

Self-employment visa:

If you are looking for self-employment opportunities in the country, then you need to apply for a residence permit and permission to start your business. This visa is required if you are coming to Germany temporarily and for business purposes.

Before approving your visa, the authorities will check the feasibility of your business idea, review your business plan and your previous experience in the business.

They will check if you have the capital to start your business and if your business has the potential to meet economic or regional needs in Germany. And your business should be beneficial to the German economy.

These are some visa options you can explore if you want to work in Germany. Consult an immigration expert to gain better clarity and identify the option that is most suitable for you.

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