Known for its innovation in fields such as automation and engineering, and boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, working in Germany is an attractive option for many current or future students.
Working in Germany during your studies
If you’d like to find part-time work to supplement your income while studying in Germany, there are different conditions depending on where you’re from:
-Students from the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA)
Students from the EU/EEA (as well as students from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland) have the same entitlement as German students and free access to the German job market.
You can work up to 20 hours per week while studying. If you exceed this, you’ll be required to pay into the German social security system, and there could be a negative impact on your studies.
-Students from outside the EU/EEA
Non-EU/EEA students are also able to work in Germany alongside their studies, for 120 full days or 240 half days per year.
If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at the university, this is usually not counted in your limit. However, you must notify the Alien Registration Office if you take up this type of work.
If you take an internship during your semester break, this is regarded as normal work, even if it’s unpaid. This means that every day of your internship is subtracted from your 120-day credit balance. However, mandatory internships which are required for your course do not count towards your limit.
Note that non-EU students are not permitted to work in a self-employed or freelance capacity.
Students in Germany can generally earn up to €450 (~US$480) per month tax-free. If you earn more than this you will receive an income tax number and have automatic tax deductions from your salary. Some employers may withhold income tax despite the low income, but you can reclaim this after submitting your income tax statement.
When it comes to finding work, it’s likely to be very useful if you have a good knowledge of the German language and/or have completed an internship during your studies.
If you’re studying a language or a preparatory course (Studienkolleg), the requirements are stricter. You can only work in lecture-free periods and only with the consent of the Federal Employment Agency and the foreigners’ authority.