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Do German companies provide visa sponsorship?

Many internationals who want to work in Germany ask me this question. The answer is not that simple, as visa sponsoring can have different meanings.

Basically, there is no visa sponsorship in Germany like in other countries. German employers don’t need a permit or license to hire employees from abroad. They only need to offer foreign candidates an employment contract and fill out some forms for the visa process. The candidates can then complete the visa process independently. This is the case for most jobs* and visa categories. Any additional support from the employer’s side during the visa process is voluntary.

So why do some job ads mention visa sponsorship, visa support, or relocation support?

Although the visa procedures in Germany are less complex than in other countries, getting a visa can take quite a long time. Therefore, employers who want to fill positions quickly often offer foreign candidates visa and relocation support to speed up the process. This is particularly the case in tech and IT, where German companies compete internationally for the best talent. Employers are less willing to offer this type of support in other fields where the shortage of candidates is not that high. And if they do, it’s mostly for higher positions.

However, if companies do not offer visa support, this doesn’t mean that they don’t welcome applications from abroad! International job seekers should, therefore, not limit themselves to only those jobs that offer some kind of visa support, as the competition for these jobs could be even higher than usual.

What does visa sponsorshipvisa support, or relocation support mean in German job advertisements?

Visa sponsorship and visa support usually mean that the company supports candidates during the visa process – through its HR staff, external agencies, or consultants – and covers all or part of the costs.

Relocation support/package means even more support. In addition to visa assistance, the company also provides organizational and/or financial support for the relocation.

If you make it onto the shortlist, ask if and what kind of visa and relocation support the company can provide. Some companies may provide support but don’t mention it on their website or in job ads.

* Internationals who want to work in regulated professions need additional approval from competent authorities, and in these cases, employers will need to play a more active role. 

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