Working While Studying in Germany

International students in Germany get to benefit not only from the education system in Germany but also Germany’s numerous opportunities to develop and grow outside of academia. Working while studying in Germany is actually what many students opt for during their studies, considering that finding employment in Germany is fairly simple. Moreover, international students are also allowed to work, although a limited number of hours, while pursuing a degree in Germany.

Below you will find important information about working while studying in Germany:

Am I Eligible to Work While Studying in Germany?

If you’re enrolled in a higher education institution in Germany, the country allows you to work alongside your studies. The hours you’re allowed to work, on the other hand, are limited.

Here is how to work while studying in Germany:

  • International students coming from EU member states, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, are allowed to work 20 hours per week during term times. Although students from these countries are allowed to work more than 20 hours per week, it is not advised since they will be treated like employees and not regular students by the state.
  • Students coming from outside of EU member states are only allowed to work 240 half days or 120 full days per year, either in term or during vacations.
  • If you find work as a student assistant, then the 120-day rule does not apply to you. This is because there are no limitations to jobs at the university. However, you will have to inform the foreigners’ registration office if you want to work more hours.
  • If you are a student in a language course/preparatory course, the rules are more strict. What this means is that you are only allowed to work during lecture-free periods and only if you obtain permission from the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde).
  • Work placements count as “regular work” whether they are paid or not. So, the time you spend on a work placement will be deducted from your limit.
  • You can work more hours if the work placement is mandatory and required by your study regulations.
  • Working more than the limit you are assigned is not advised and it would require you to pay health insurance, unemployment, and nursing care insurance. Additionally, violating the rules might result in deportation.

What Kind of Student Job Can I Do Germany?

When choosing a job, it is important to find one that is convenient with regards to location, salary, as well as position so it can fit around your studies without interrupting you.

Below are the common student jobs you can do while in Germany:

  • Academic assistant. Finding work at the university as a teaching/graduate assistant would be convenient for those with academic aspirations. Typically these roles are open to research scholars and are usually advertised at the university or relevant department.
  • Positions like catering in cafés or bars are usually the most popular among students. These roles allow students to socialize, communicate, and meet new people.
  • Production assistant. As a production assistant, a student gets to assist costume designers, camera people, and directors by printing, distributing paperwork, and other related responsibilities.
  • Students may opt for retail as well, taking into consideration that this sector is continuously looking for employees.
  • Working online. Online part-time work is also available and convenient in Germany to international students. However, the options might be limited.

Are There Jobs for English-Speaking Students in Germany?

Yes. You would normally be able to find work even if you do not speak German, although German skills would be a plus. However, this depends largely on the role, meaning it would be much more difficult to find a job without speaking the native language in any position requiring communication skills or interaction with clients or customers.

Where Do I Find Work as a Student in Germany?

You might want to begin with the regional Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) and see if they have any section on student positions. If you want to find a position within the university, you should check with the HR office or faculty secretary.

You may also check newspaper ads, online portals specifically designed for job offerings, job agencies (Studentenwerk), or even noticeboards in libraries or lecture halls.

How Much Can I Earn as a Student in Germany?

The amount you will earn monthly will depend on your job position, the region you’re working in, the sector, as well as on your expertise. You should keep in mind that you will not be able to cover all your living expenses with the money you receive from non-academic part-time jobs.

There is also a monthly income limit of €450 per month, meaning that if you earn more than this amount, you will need to pay standard German taxes. This means that a particular amount will be deducted from your salary every month, which you can get back if you submit a tax return to the tax authorities at the end of the year.

Earning more than the monthly limit might also affect your student health insurance. Students are usually insured as students and not as employees, even if they have a part-time job. So, in case you earn more than the allowed limit, you will be required to pay for social security contributions. These include health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension and unemployment insurance.

Learn about the different ways of financing your studies as an international student in Germany.

Can I Extend My Student Working Hours?

It might be possible to extend your student working hours by sending a request at the Foreigners Office and the Federal Employment Agency. However, this only applies to academic jobs. This means if you have a student assistant role, your working hours at the university will not count towards your 120-day limit.

Which Are the Best Cities in Germany to Find Work?

Germany is home to a large number of companies which could be your potential future employers. Taking into consideration that the rate of unemployment in Germany is small, many expats travel to Germany for the sole purpose of finding employment. If you find yourself studying in one of the following cities, your chances of finding work as a student there are quite high.

Here are the top 10 German cities to find work:

  • Berlin
  • Frankfurt
  • Munich
  • Stuttgart
  • Hamburg
  • Cologne
  • Dusseldorf
  • Bonn
  • Leipzig
  • Darmstadt

Learn more about the work opportunities in these cities.

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