New Right of Residence regulations
Since the 1st of August 2012, the “Law on the Implementation of the Highly Qualified Workers Directive of the European Union” (EU Blue Card) applies.
The law goes beyond the EU’s provisions and opens up new perspectives for foreign students and researchers in Germany.
The law provides for far-reaching changes in Right of Residence regulations:
- Foreign students may now work 120 full days / 240 half days during their studies instead of 90 days / 180 half days per year.
- After completing their degree, they may remain in Germany for 18 months to seek employment (instead of 12months as was previously the case).
- Whilst seeking employment, they are entitled to work without any time restrictions. They are not obliged to obtain the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit).
- Also new is that a settlement permit, i.e. an indefinite right of residence, can already be issued two years after the graduate has commenced a highly qualified profession.
The legal provisions regarding to what extent international students are allowed to work, provided they have right of residence in accordance with §16 of the Residence Act, differ depending on the country of origin.
For foreign students from EU Member States, the same rules apply as for German students. You should not, however, work more than 20 hours per week, since you will otherwise be obliged to pay social security contributions, such as pension insurance contributions.
Students from non-EU countries may not work for more than 120 full days or 240 half days per year. As soon as foreign students have exhausted this quota of approval-free days, they require the permission of the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and the Municipal Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in order to pursue further employment. If you take up employment as a Research Assistant or Student Assistant at a university or other academic institution, you may work for more than 120 full days / 240 half days. You must, however, inform the Municipal Immigration Office in this case too.
You can look for work in local daily newspapers and on the notice boards at the University. In addition, an overview of job opportunities can be found on the websites listed on the left.
Practical placements during your studies
Many students in Germany gather professional experience and establish contacts in the framework of practical placements. In legal terms, a practical placement counts as regular work, even if it is unpaid.
In the case of international students who are only permitted to work for 120 full days per year, each day of a practical placement is deducted from this quota. If you have already worked for 120 days in the year in question, you must obtain the approval of the Federal Employment Agency or the Municipal Immigration Office.
If, however, the practical placement is compulsory, specified in the study regulations and verifiably essential to achieving study goals, then it is not deducted from the 120 full days. You do not need to obtain approval, but should never the less notify the Municipal Immigration Office.