Working in Germany After Graduation

International students find Germany to be an attractive study destination, largely due to the quality of education it provides and also due to its wide range of opportunities to advance academically, create a financially stable life, and an excellent career. To date, the number of international students in Germany has reached over 374,000, making this country one of the most favourable countries to pursue a degree. 

The opportunity to work in Germany during and after studies is also what brings flocks of international students into the country. While those who cannot cover the full cost of living in Germany on their own have the opportunity to work part-time during studies, those who grow a liking towards Germany can stay here after graduation and try to find employment. The opportunities are great, all it takes is hard work! 

Here’s all you need to know about working in Germany after graduation as an international student:

Working in Germany After Graduation for EU Students

Graduates who come from an EU/EEA member country can seek employment in Germany as soon as they graduate without the need to obtain a work permit. If you are from the EU/EEA, you will be subject to the same rules and regulations as German graduates, especially in terms of employment, working conditions, and taxes. You do not need to have a work permit to work in Germany when you graduate, just like you did not need to have a student visa to study in the country like non-EU/EEA students.

Working in Germany After Graduation for Non-EU Students

Graduates who come from non-EU/EEA countries of origin can work in Germany after they finish their studies by extending their residence permit for up to 18 months after graduation. These 18 months begin as soon as you finish your final exams, so it would be best if you start looking for employment while you are still at university, or during your final semester. Keep in mind that during these 18 months, you can work whatever job you can in order to support yourself until you find full-time employment, and it does not necessarily have to be related to your field of study.

You should apply for the residence permit extension by submitting the following documents: 

After you obtain the extended residence permit, you can use the 18 months to find employment in Germany you think is related to your field of study. During the time you spend seeking employment, you can take up any work you think is necessary in order to support yourself financially. 

What Should I Do After I Find Employment?

After you find a job you like, with a minimum of a one-year contract, you should apply for an EU Blue Card, which is the main residence permit for university graduates from non-EU countries of origin who have graduated from German universities and would like to stay and work in Germany. In order to be eligible for the Blue Card, the applicant must meet certain prerequisites, such as have a university/college degree and an employment contract with a company in Germany that pays at least €56,800 per year. In other occupations, where there is a shortage of skilled workers, the salary threshold is lower, approximately €44,304 per year.

The Eu Blue Card is a residence permit that is usually issued for the period of four years. However, if the duration of the contract is shorter, German authorities will issue the EU Blue Card for that period of time, with an additional three months. In case the requirements are met, the card can be extended. After 33 months of residence in Germany, those who have an EU Blue Card can apply for a settlement permit, which allows them to permanently settle to Germany.

Settlement in Germany After Graduation 

A settlement permit is a permanent residence permit for internationals who have lived in Germany for a number of years, and it authorizes them to live, work, and study, as well as bring family members in Germany. Holders of an EU Blue Card will receive their settlement permit after 33 months in Germany, if they have met all the requirements (employed, paid contributions, and have basic German language skills). EU Blue Card holders may also qualify for the permit in a matter of 21 months if they have a level B1 of German language proficiency.

After spending 8 years in Germany on a settlement permit, you can require naturalization (meaning you can become a German citizen). 

Can I Work in Germany After I Return to My Home Country?

If you have finished your higher education studies in Germany as an international student and after graduation you have returned to your home country, you can still find employment in Germany. What you need in this case is a job seeker visa that allows you to enter Germany for a period of six months and find employment. However, in comparison to an extended residence permit, the job seeker visa does not make you eligible to work while you are looking for full-time employment, meaning you will have to provide proof that you have the necessary financial means to support yourself.

After you find employment with a minimum one-year contract, you can apply for an EU Blue Card.

Employment Opportunities for International Graduates in Germany 

Due to Germany’s leading position in the top largest world economies, job opportunities are plentiful for university graduates, so working in Germany after graduation should not be an issue. Depending on your field of study, you can work on numerous industries, since Germany is home to thousands of companies across all industries. Job prospects are good and employers are constantly looking for skilled individuals. It would be best if you start looking for employment while you are still at university, during the last semester, to get an idea of where to begin, what to look for and expect, and what your options are. 

You will be able to find employment opportunities on online job advertising websites, university notice boards, or even on company websites and social media. If you already have created preferences, meaning there is a company you would like to work with, you can email the company and ask whether there are any open job positions available or whether they are planning to hire in the future. The good thing about an extended residence permit after studies is that you can work any type of job while seeking contractual employment related to your field of study.

Advice: Keep in mind that graduates who have German language skills will likely be given priority over those who do not. So during your time at university, even if you are studying in English, pay attention to your German language skills. Knowing German will come in handy not only when it comes to finding employment, but also obtaining a settlement permit more quickly, as well as socializing, networking, and finding your way around Germany without any barriers. 

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