International students see Germany as an ideal study destination, especially due to the quality of education, affordability, and opportunities to advance. Side jobs, or part-time work, alongside studies are an important part of the study abroad experience for international students. Approximately two-thirds of students in Germany work during their studies, something that provides them with extra income and an opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge.
The living costs in Germany are deemed affordable and in line with the EU average. However, international students often find themselves in need of an extra income that they get through part-time jobs, which are plentiful in Germany. As of 1 January 2021, an international student will need around 861 EUR/month to cover their living expenses, which translates to around 10,332 EUR/year.
What Rules Apply to International Students?
Not every student is treated equally when it comes to part-time work rules and regulations in Germany. Students who come from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland practically have the same rights as German students when it comes to the job market. In case these students want to work more than 20 hours per week, however, they are eligible for certain insurance contributions, just like German nationals.
Students From Different Countries
Students who come from countries other than EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, will have to abide by a few special restrictions.
If you belong in this category, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Restricted working hours. You are only allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year.
- Restricted employment. You are not allowed to undertake self-employment or freelancing.
- Special permission. If you want to work more than the hours allowed, you should ask for permission from the local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and the foreigners’ registration office (Ausländerbehörde).
- Language course students. International students who are undertaking a language course or preparatory course are only allowed to work (during recess periods) with permission from the Federal Employment Agency and the Immigration Office.
Typically, permission to work more hours is often granted to students living in areas with low unemployment rates.
Note: International students working as academic assistants are not usually restricted to a limit of working hours. Nevertheless, they will still have to let the foreigners’ office know about their circumstances.
Where to Look for Part-Time Jobs as an International Student?
Employers and recruiters post job offerings in numerous spots, including university bulletin boards and all the way to online job portals, depending on the type of employee they are trying to hire. When looking for a job, it is essential to stay observant because you never know when a job opportunity might arise.
Some of the places you can look for a student job include:
University Bulletin Board
The university bulletin board can be an efficient way to find a student job while at university. Typically, these boards are full of flyers for students to see and in certain cases, employers are also offering jobs with flexible hours, perfect for university students. Depending on your area of expertise and skills, you can find numerous part-time job opportunities in the university bulletin board.
University Career Centres
Usually, universities have their own career centres, which are aimed at helping students find a job they can do alongside studying. These career centres are constantly in contact with a wide range of industries and employers, meaning they are up to date with the job market. Students typically set appointments to discuss their circumstances and the type of work they are skilled to do and see if any opportunities are available.
Online Job Portals
Online job portals are also helpful for students wishing to work part-time in Germany. Employers post their job offerings in different job portals so potential employees can see them and apply. You can find a wide range of work opportunities in job portals, which list the skill set requirements for particular jobs, so students can know whether they are eligible for the job or not.
Friends and Fellow Students
Asking friends and fellow students, or any other type of acquaintance, whether they have heard of any job openings is surely something to be advised. This is not always helpful but it can prove to be beneficial in certain situations. Besides, once you let your friends know that you are looking for a job, they will make sure to inform you in case they hear of someone hiring. It is always helpful to try all options available.
What Job Opportunities Are Available for International Students?
In Germany, international students may choose to work part-time in a wide range of industries. From waiting at bars or filing documents in offices to working at the university as academic assistants, there are numerous options available. A fitting part-time job opportunity would be one that is somehow related to their field of study.
Some of the most common part-time jobs for international students in Germany are:
- Academic assistants
- Library supervisor
- Literature researcher
- Tutorial assistant
- Off-campus jobs
- Trade Fairs
- Filing office documents
- Media (Journalism students)
- Tutoring (Students in teacher training)
Keep in mind: You lengthen your study period if you work too many hours in a job that is not related to your qualifications.
How Much Do Student Jobs Pay in Germany?
Student jobs in Germany pay enough for a student to earn an extra income or extra pocket money, however, they do not pay enough to cover all living expenses. Generally, the minimum wage in Germany currently (as of 2019) stands at 9.19 EUR/hour, and it is updated every two years. Additionally, numerous other factors come into play.
The pay largely depends on the students’ skills as well as the industry they are employed in. There are jobs that pay higher amounts while other industries might pay less, also depending on the regional labour market. What this means is that in larger German cities, you might find a job that pays more in comparison to the same job in a smaller German city.
In industries like production, academic institutions, as well as trade fairs, the pay per hour is typically higher than the minimum wage.
Do International Students on Part-Time Jobs Pay Taxes?
Students, on student jobs, can earn up to 450 EUR/month without the need to pay taxes. If you are earning more than that amount on a monthly basis, regularly, you will be required to obtain a tax number. This way, a certain amount will be deducted from your wage every month, but you will be able to get it back at the end of the year if you submit a tax return.
Do Students Pay Social Security Contributions in Germany?
You will be eligible for social security contributions payment if you are permanently employed in Germany. This includes payments for health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension and unemployment insurance. If you work less than two months for around 50 days, you will not be required to pay social security contributions. Those employed for longer periods of time must have pension insurance.
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