Work in Germany

financingWork During Studies

Earning money alongside studying is a way of life for the majority of students in Germany. The latest social survey carried out by the Deutsche Studentenwerke shows that in total around two thirds of all students studying in Germany go to work. The fact that students are allowed to work part-time to support themselves during their studies is another reason which makes Germany an attractive prospect for foreign students for continuing their higher studies.

Particularly for international students, a side job is an important means of subsistence. For students not belonging to the EU or EEA countries, work is restricted. The working conditions for students belonging to the EU or EEA countries are very different, as they practically stand on equal terms with German students and have free access to the job market in the country.

Hence, students not belonging to the EU or EEA countries should keep two very important aspects relating to working part-time in Germany in mind:

  • Working too much and not in line with your actual qualifications may lengthen the time of your study, and will not add to your qualifications in any way. Working a side job is only a way to support one’s self during the course of the studies.
  • The job market for students is getting highly competitive with the increasing number of foreign students coming to the country for higher education

How much are students allowed to work in Germany?

The German law allows foreign students not belonging to the EU or EEA countries to work 120 full or 240 half days in a year. This is also mentioned on the work permit that students receive alongside their residence permit covering the duration of their studies in the country. It should be noted, however, that the students not belonging to the EU or EEA countries are not allowed to be self-employed, i.e. they cannot start their own business. Also, any form of freelancing is not allowed for these students.

However, if a student intends on working more than the specified number of days, he is expected to get the approval of the Employment Agency and the Aliens Department. Whether the student is granted the approval to work the extra days is dependent on the job market situation of the place his study. A high unemployment rate in the region may mean relatively smaller chances of being granted the permission to work those extra days.

If a student intends on working as an academic or student assistant, however, he is allowed to work for an unlimited period of time, as long as, his studies are not impaired by it. The Aliens Department should nonetheless be informed of if the student undertakes the job of an academic or student assistant.

Students in Language courses or preparatory colleges

Students enrolled in language courses or studying at a preparatory college face stricter rules when it comes to working alongside studies. These students are only permitted to work with the approval of the Aliens Department and the Employment Agency. In addition, these students are only permitted to work during their lecture-free time.

Work After Studies

A successful graduation from a German university opens the way to a wide range of opportunities in the German job market for foreign graduates. So, it is entirely up to the students on how well they are able to take their qualifications to land themselves a good job after graduation.

Students not belonging to the EU or EEA countries are allowed to extend their residence permit for a period of up to 18 months after completing their studies. They are given a fair chance at looking for suitable employment in Germany. During this period, students are allowed to work as much as they wish to. Hence, it is highly recommendable that if you intend on working in Germany after your studies, you should actively start looking for a job in your final semester of studies.

In addition, completing internships related to your course of studies and establishing professional contacts can go a long way in helping you land that dream job you are looking for. Students are also advised to contact their respective University Career Counselling Office, as well as go through the career portal of their universities; the career portal is usually upgraded on a constant basis to include new jobs, hence students have a good chance of finding a relevant job.

The students are also recommended to refer to the German Federal Agency’s online job portal for job search purpose. Other job portals such as and can also assist in finding relevant and suitable jobs for students. Other portals include Absolventa and ZEIT.

In short, university graduates have a very good prospect for finding employment in the country after graduation. However, it should be kept in mind that a sound knowledge of the German language is indispensable for finding a job in Germany, both during and after studies.

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