Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free
Insurance, FX and international movers
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!
From our tax, investment and FX partners
Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.
Germany > Working


Useful Job Hunting Tips For Expats Moving To Germany

Published Sunday November 23, 2014 (19:38:36)


Finding employment in a foreign country can seem daunting, as there may be differences in the nature of the job market, labor laws and cultural norms. Some expats may be posted abroad by their company, in which case the process is much easier. But for those who need to find a job on their own or accompanying spouses who prefer to work while abroad, the process can be a little more challenging. The German job market offers lucrative opportunities for qualified professionals. Here are some tips to increase your chances of securing worthwhile employment in Germany.


The process of relocating to a foreign country begins with securing a visa. Those without any pre-existing connections to Germany such as from dual citizenship, employment transfers or marriage must go through the entire process of obtaining a visa that applies to them. Some countries have a visa waiver program with Germany and the nationals of these countries can stay in Germany for up to three months and get their visa changed upon their arrival. This allows them the time to find employment wherein their employer can also sponsor the appropriate work visa.

Work permit

EU nationals do not require a work permit to work in Germany if they have a valid passport or national identity card. They only need to comply with the employment laws of the country. Non-EU nationals require a residence permit to work in Germany and this permit depends on the nature of intended employment such as non-qualified, qualified, highly qualified and self-employed.


The language barrier may pose a problem for many expats. But knowledge of the local language is an advantage, as it is an added skill that can benefit many German companies. Learning German is also helpful in daily life and can help in networking and socializing with locals. While improving your German language skills, you can keep the job search going by taking the aid of sources such as Jobbörse, the federal employment agency that also provides counseling services to help individuals find the ideal job for their skills and needs.

Qualifications and training

The educational qualifications and training required to become part of the work force can vary from one country to another. In Germany, the education and training system usually includes vocational training (Ausbildung), apprenticeship or qualification for university admission (Arbitur) along with further university degrees. Since education is available to residents at subsidized costs, Germans can take advantage of a variety of available university courses.

Qualified professionals are able to find jobs in Germany quite easily. It helps to highlight your qualifications and unique skills and locate those industries and companies that look for similar skills. Many expats take advantage of their fluency in English and find employment in teaching jobs.

Important documents

Your CV or lebenslauf must be comprehensive and should detail all previous professional positions in reverse chronological order. It should also include educational degrees, final grades and extra-curricular activities. Most German employers also expect to see details like birth date, marital status and number of children. A recent photograph is also required along with your CV. Besides the CV; employers expect to see written recommendations by previous employers. If you choose to use a recruitment agency, you will be advised about which documents are essential and you will also get an idea about the salary and benefits you can expect.

Employment contracts

Any company offering a job must provide a contract. A temporary contract (befristete Arbeitsvertrag) may be provided in some cases, which can be valid for one or more years. A limited contract may be renewed if the employer and employee choose to do so. It is then converted into an unlimited contract (unbefristete Arbeitsvertag). The contract must define the main responsibilities of the employee, salary, benefits and working hours. Professional life in Germany tends to be organized and regulated; therefore employment contracts are similar across industries and companies.

Employers are not permitted to include any hidden clauses. Employees can terminate a contract within 14 days of their probation period, but it must be followed by a 28-day notice period. According to German law, notice must be given on the 14th or the last day of the month.

Read more Germany working articles or view our latest Germany articles

Discuss this article in our Germany forum or Facebook group



Expat Health Insurance Partners

Cigna Global

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.

Copyright © 2019 Expat Focus. All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Comments are property of their posters.
Interactive software released under GNU GPL, Code Credits, Privacy Policy