Work in Germany

In many areas of the German labor market, there has been a significant shortage of specialists and skilled workers for several years. Demand is highest in the healthcare, construction, engineering, and IT industries. International professionals have various options for immigration and employment or self-employment in Germany: from unskilled workers to highly qualified experts.

Beschäftigung in Deutschland - work in Germany - working in germany

Who can work in Germany?

Professionals with academic degrees

Qualified professionals can work in their profession or in a lower similar profession. For example, an electrical engineer can work as either an engineer or an electrician. If they work in their profession, they usually apply for an EU Blue Card, which requires a certain salary and has many advantages. If they work for a lower salary than required by the EU Blue Card or in a lower position, candidates must apply for a work visa based on the Skilled Workers Immigration Act.

  • The qualifications of candidates with academic degrees are usually standardized, correspond to degrees in Germany, and do not require any additional recognition or qualification. There are exceptions for doctors and engineers.
  • The visa process for this group of professionals is usually the fastest as not many candidates apply for the EU Blue Card.

Skilled workers with vocational training

Since March 2020, the Skilled Immigration Act has opened the German labor market to all qualified skilled workers – for those with academic degrees and vocational training. The two groups of candidates are now treated almost equally, although some differences in the practical implementation of immigration and employment in Germany remain.

  • The German vocational training system is difficult to compare with other countries. The recognition processes are not yet standardized as they are for academic professions and will therefore take longer.
  • Many foreign vocational training courses are only partially recognized. In some cases, candidates have to complete additional qualification measures in Germany. Some qualification measures must be completed before starting work, others can also be carried out during work.
  • The visa process takes longer than for candidates with an academic degree.

Workers without formal degrees

In principle, Germany only allows qualified immigrants to get a work visa. Jobseekers from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Kosovo are an exception. They can get a work visa based on the Western Balkans Regulation. This enables them to take up employment in Germany that does not require a degree or vocational training, e.g. B. as a construction worker or unskilled worker. The regulation was extended until the end of 2023.

Trainees (vocational training)

The German vocational training system offers young foreigners a first-class opportunity to get trained for a profession and continue to work in Germany. Candidates who have completed middle school can obtain a work visa for vocational training in Germany.

Special cases

IT specialists without formal qualifications

Since IT specialists are in great demand, they benefit from a special regulation. If you can prove that you have at least three years of professional experience, you can work in Germany without a formal qualification.

Professional drivers

Professional drivers are treated like applicants with professional training if they can present a truck driver’s license and proof of basic qualification (code 95).

Who can work as a freelancer in Germany?


Soon there will be more information on this topic.

Sole traders

Soon there will be more information on this topic.

Where are the greatest chances of finding work in Germany?

The skilled labor shortage is greatest in these regions of Germany

Fachkräftemangel - Skilled labor shortage

The greatest skilled labor shortage in September 2021 was in these professional fields

  1. Social work and social pedagogy
  2. Elderly care
  3. Nursing
  4. Building electrics
  5. Sanitary, heating, and air conditioning technology
  6. Computer science
  7. Physical therapy
  8. Automotive engineering
  9. Medical assistant
  10. Construction planning and supervision
  11. Electrical engineering
  12. Wood, furniture, and interior construction
  13. Professional drivers
  14. Dental assistants
  15. Tax advice

Which requirements have to be met in order to be able to work in Germany?

Employment contract

The basic requirement for a work visa in Germany is a valid employment contract or a binding job offer. The contract must meet the necessary minimum standards and salary limits. Depending on the content and type of the visa, German institutions can also check the trustworthiness of the employer.

Recognized or comparable degree

The candidates must be able to prove that they have relevant qualifications to be able to take up employment in Germany. If you have completed vocational training, it must have lasted at least two years, and the resulting qualifications must be officially recognised as being equivalent to or comparable to a German qualification.

Exceptions: IT specialists, professional drivers, employees who apply for a visa in accordance with the Western Balkans Regulation.

German language skills

Knowledge of German is only compulsory for certain professions such as doctors or nurses. However, language skills can be a key factor in standing out from the competition and getting a job. Certain knowledge of German is also required if you have to take part in further qualifications in Germany in order to have your degree recognized.

Other requirements

Depending on your qualification level, age, occupation, or federal state where you want to work, you may have to meet additional requirements.

Special requirements apply to freelancers and solo traders.

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