Working in Germany: How To Find Work During and After Your Studies
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Working in Germany: How To Find Work During and After Your Studies

Written by Taru Medha

With one of the fastest growing economies in Europe (and one of the lowest unemployment rates), it’s clear that Germany has an active job market with opportunities for everyone.

Whether you’re a postgraduate student in Germany looking for a casual job or a recent graduate looking to start full-time work, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve detailed everything you need to know about working in Germany, during or after your studies, including the kinds of jobs you can do, how to search for them and any restrictions that might apply to you.

Working while studying

Most students in Germany take up part-time work during their studies. Even though a postgraduate course in Germany is more affordable since tuition is (usually) free, a part-time job is a good way to cover your living costs.

How much can you work?

The German Federal Employment Agency has put in place a few restrictions for students looking for part time work. This is mainly to make sure that your work doesn’t hinder or delay your academic goals. What restrictions apply to you depends on your nationality:

  • Students from EU/EEA: European students have unrestricted access to the job market and have the same rights as German students. You will, however, need to make the required insurance contributions if you work more than 20 hours a week. Even though there are no restrictions, you must not let your work impact or delay your academic goals.
  • Students from other countries: Part-time work is capped at 120 full days or 240 half days in a year (without special consent from the Federal Employment Agency). If you need to work more than the allowed quota, you have to take permission from the Federal Employment Agency and the Foreigner’s Office.

What kind of work can you do?

Students in Germany can take up both on-campus or off-campus jobs while they study. Some of the most common ones are working as wait-staff, babysitters, or tutors. Even though these seem like the most obvious choices and are easy to secure, you also have a few other options.

Academic assistants

As an academic assistant, you’ll be working for an institute of higher education. This could be the university you’re studying at, but academic assistants work in university archives, libraries or in administration. Students can also work for academic staff at these institutions and are often called Hiwi’s or graduate assistants.

PhD students can also think about securing a job as a research assistant at universities or independent research institutions.

There is no limit to the number of hours you can work as an academic assistant, however, if you’re an international student, you will still have to inform the Foreigner’s Office about your working hours. You should bear in mind that working too much can have a negative impact on your studies.


Students are often keen to gain work experience while they study so they have a foundation to build on when they start looking for jobs after graduation. An internship is a good place to begin. You can work as an intern while you study even if you are an international student. However, an internship (whether paid or unpaid) is considered normal work and will be deducted from your work-day allowance.

How can you search for a job?

Your first port of call should be your university’s student services which are likely to have job vacancy listings on their websites or on notice boards around campus. They will also have information about any academic assistant jobs that might be available at your university.

If you’re looking for one of the off-campus jobs like waiting tables or working at bars, you can find such jobs listed on online job portals like LinkedIn, Make it in Germany job listings or the Federal Employment Agency job board.

Working after your studies

If you’ve just completed a postgraduate course in Germany, you may be thinking about entering the job market and settling down in the country. Germany has a lot to offer anyone looking for a job, with engineers, scientists and sustainability experts already in high demand.

However, depending on which country you are from, there might be some restrictions and considerations that you might want to keep in mind.

If you’re from EU/EEA

You have open access to everything the German job market has to offer, and you have the same rights as a German citizen. This means you can stay in the country to find and continue work for as long as you like.

If you’re from other countries

If you’re an international student who has just completed their postgraduate degree, you can apply for an 18-month permit which allows you to stay and look for work. However, you have to provide proof that you are in the process of finding work in your field of expertise and have the means to fund yourself in the meantime.

If you’re successful in securing a job in this time, you can then apply for a residence permit for the purpose of qualified work. Once you’ve been employed for some time and meet certain criteria, you can apply for a settlement status which gives you indefinite leave to stay and a citizenship after eight years.

You also have the option to apply for an EU Blue Card if you meet certain requirements. You must have completed a degree in Germany (or have a comparable degree) and have a binding employment contract. You must also earn at least €58,400 or €45,552 if you’re employed in STEM.

How can you search for a job?

There is plenty of support available from your university’s career centre. Along with having job listings on their website, they can help you with any other concerns as your transition from a student to a working professional.

You can also visit the Federal Employment Agency online job portal or other online job listing websites like Make it in Germany or LinkedIn which is popular worldwide

Now that you know everything about finding a job in Germany, it is time to make a list of all the things you want to experience and spend your salary on while you’re in Germany, whether as a student or a working professional!

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Last Updated: 20 November 2023