Aug 07 2020

A guide to working in Germany as a student

We answer some frequently answered questions about working whilst being an international student in Germany, and some tips on how you can find employment. Read now. 

Germany has long been a magnet for international students thanks to its reputation for providing quality education and having a stable, prosperous economy. 

Arden University Berlin attracts students from around the world who are looking to study their degrees in English whilst having an interesting and exciting international student experience. A big attraction for international students studying in Berlin is the excellent opportunities to find work both while they’re pursuing their degrees, and after graduating.

While some students choose to take on part-time work during their studies to support their standard of living, some search for other student jobs in Germany, such as paid internships, to acquire professional experience in their chosen field of study.

Here we answer some frequently asked questions about working in Germany as an international student.

What are the eligibility criteria for working students in Germany?

Your eligibility to work in Germany during your studies may vary depending on the part of the world you’re from, and what kind of agreement your respective governments have regarding working visas. However, there are some general rules that are widely applicable. If you’re from any country in the European Union (or Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein), you'll have the same kind of access and entitlement to the job market as a German student would. Students from the EU/EEA can work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week while they are undertaking their studies in Germany. 

Students from non-EU/EEA countries are limited to no more than 120 full days, or 240 half days per year. This rule doesn’t apply, however, if you take up a job at your university such as a student recruiter or a research assistant - although you will have to inform the Foreigners’ Registration Office if you plan to extend your working hours. The student employment rules can also vary depending on which course you’re studying. If, for example, you are studying a language course, or you’re a preparatory course student, you will be allowed to work only during periods where you have no lectures or classes, and you must gain the permission of the Federal Employment Agency and the German Immigration Office. Work placements as part of professional courses count as regular work — hence, the time you spend on your work placements will be deducted from your total limit.

The immigration regulations also mandate a compulsory work permit in Germany for international students. Therefore, you should contact the German consulate in your home country or the German Immigration Office to find out more about working with a student visa.

What kind of job opportunities in Germany can I apply for as a foreign student?

As an international student in a multicultural and diverse city, there are many opportunities if you want to study and work in Berlin, and indeed Germany.

Many international students here take up posts such as academic assistants, library assistants, production assistants, waiters and waitresses in restaurants and cafes, bartenders, and a variety of roles in the retail sector.With a growing competitive demand for part-time jobs for students in Germany, taking up online jobs is also becoming a convenient option for many international students.

How much can I earn as a student in Germany?

The amount you can earn as a working student in Germany largely depends on your position, place of work, and your previous academic and professional experience. Becoming proficient in the German language can also help you access higher paying jobs as an international student.
However, international students are limited to earning €450 per month.

If you earn more than that, you will require a tax number and a certain amount will be deducted every month from your wages by the German social security authorities. You can however claim this money back at the end of each financial year by submitting a tax return.

Some useful tips to find work as a student in Germany

We’ve put a list together of tips for working while studying as an international student in the country. 

  1. Create an impressive CV: As with searching for a job in any country, it can pay off to spend some time refining and polishing your CV before you upload it on different employment websites. Talk to the local students to get an idea of what German employers expect from potential employees and design your resume around those ideas.
  2. Explore work opportunities in and around your university: The best way to balance an active work life with your academic focus is to look for jobs in and around your university, that puts you in close proximity of your classes. This way, you can keep work-associated distractions to a minimum and save a lot of time on unnecessary commuting.
  3. Be aware of German work regulations: As an international student, you have to comply with the German work regulations of not working more than 120 full days in a year. Therefore, it’s key to choose positions that can let you work half shifts so that you can extend your employment period. Steer clear of work with a freelance status, especially if you are a non-EU student, who are prohibited to work as freelancers.
  4. Utilise your student network to look for appropriate jobs: Instead of blindly searching for jobs in newspaper columns and recruitment websites, it can be a good idea to utilise your connections as a student to look for jobs appropriate for you. You can approach your professors for any vacant research assistant positions or connect with the admissions office for openings in student recruitment. You should also connect with your classmates and colleagues to see if they’ve heard of any potential job opportunities.

Here at Arden University Berlin, we understand and support students’ motivation to gain professional experience, or supplement their living costs whilst studying their degrees. Our excellent Student Support team are on hand at the campus to help you with any assistance you need with your visa, health insurance, work permit and residence permit. Our careers service will also help you get your CV up to scratch, to give you the best chance at finding employment during your studies with us. 

You can follow the link here to find out more about studying and working in Berlin with Arden University.