Working in Germany

Inhalte aus AMT24

Recognition of qualifications

Earned training qualifications or done your Masters abroad and now looking for work in Saxony? Then you can get your qualifications recognised. This is very beneficial for your application, and ensures the employer classifies you in accordance with your training.

Freelancers and tradespeople

If you want to practise a trade and are planning to be self-employed, you are obliged to register this trade. Exceptions only apply for freelancers and companies in the agricultural and forestry industries.

Free movement of workers for EU citizens

Citizens of EU member states are entitled to freely move inbetween the states. You can look for work in another EU country and hold down a job without requiring a work permit.

This also applies for citizens of countries in the European Economic Area (i.e. EU states as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. You only need to register with a local authority after three months.

Please note! Mandatory registration after three months relates to employment contracts. Regardless of whether or not you commence work, registration is mandatory as soon as you move into a house in Saxony. You must then register with the local authority within 14 days of moving in.

Citizens of states outside the European Union and European Economic Area (third-party states)

Persons from so-called third-party states require a residence permit which must include a work permit.

Residence permits include visas, temporary residence permits, EU Blue Cards, permanent residence permits and long-term EU residence permits. Visas, EU Blue Cards and temporary residence permits are temporary, and are issued for specific purposes.

If you are a foreigner with a permanent residence permit, you are entitled to engage in any type of gainful employment. Permanent residence permits are not limited in time or space, and contain no auxiliary provisions.

More information is available from the Bureau for Foreigners.

Foreign students

Foreign students who are citizens of an EU/EEA state or Switzerland can work in Germany without restrictions.

Students from third-party states, may work for a maximum of 120 days or 240 half days a year. The residence permit for study purposes includes secondary employment at universities. No further approval is required for such employment.

For further employment, e.g. as part-time employees, students not belonging to one of the EU/EEA states or Switzerland require an EU work permit or a work permit which includes this employment. If necessary, the Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (ZAV - Foreign and Specialist Placement Services) must provide its consent. Generally, however, the students stay in Germany because of their studies. A work permit is thus hardly ever issued.

Consent by the Federal Employment Agency

The Federal Agency’s consent is often required in order to ensure foreigners receive a residence permit which includes a work permit. It is obtained from the Bureau for Foreigners.

Note: There are also jobs which can be held without consent from the Federal Employment Agency.

Please note! Specialist Placement Services (ZAV) must be informed before the employee starts working. Please consult the competent ZAV team regarding specific provisions.

Consent involving no further restrictions can be issued for foreigners residing permanently in Germany. This may be the case, for example, for people who have grown up in Germany and completed schooling or vocational training there. Please contact the ZAV or Bureau for Foreigners for more information.

Asylum seekers and foreigners with exceptional leave to remain

Asylum seekers require a work permit. They can be permitted onto the employment market once they have legally been in Germany for nine months.

No consent is required in order to issue permits for

  • Vocational training at a state accredited or comparable recognised trade
  • Employment not requiring a permit under the Employment Ordinance, or
  • Employment of spouses, partners, and first-degree relatives and in-laws of an employer at its company if the employer lives in the same household as these parties.

Consent from the Federal Employment Agency is not required in order of an employment permit to be issued after four years of uninterrupted residence in Germany.

Foreigners with exceptional leave to remain can also enter the employment market after a one-year permitted, exceptionally tolerated or granted stay in Germany. There must also not be any grounds for approvals to be denied. This is the case if

  • they have come to Germany to receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, or
  • Residence-ending measures cannot be taken for reasons caused by the foreigners themselves.

They too can receive an employment permit without the Federal Employment Agency’s consent after four years of uninterrupted residence in Germany insofar as none of the aforementioned grounds for approvals to be denied exist.


Based on the German version authorized by Amt24 editorial office and Regionaldirektion Sachsen der Bundesagentur für Arbeit