Working In Germany As A Foreigner From A Non-EU Country

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Written By Alex

I had an outstanding experience when seeking a job in Germany, and I would like to lead you through the process based on my knowledge. Since I arrived from an EU country, I also talked to some of my colleagues that arrived from non-EU countries to get their insights as well. I wanted to know what was their experience of living and working in Germany as a foreigner.

Key takeaways

  1. Germany is one of those countries where many people would like to live and work.
    2. There are great opportunities for skilled workers in this country.
    3. However, there are a few things you need to know if you are coming from a non-EU country. 
    4. In this article, I will solely focus on general employment and the job market in Germany.
    5. Germany, in general, is an immigration-friendly country.
    6. As long as you are well qualified or could get your vocational training approved in Germany, you may apply for a visa and find a job.
    7. Under some circumstances, you might have to show some knowledge in German alongside it.
    8. The most important question you might have is whether working in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country is for you.

Is it possible to work in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country?

In general, you may work in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country.

The most important thing to mention is that you meet the set eligibility criteria.

It would help if you had both a work and residence permit. Please make sure to check out my other article around the topic of registration in Germany:

“Anmeldung,” through my eyes as a foreigner.

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, or the United States would have an easier entry into the German job market than citizens from other non-EU countries.

How can a non-EU citizen get a job in Germany?

Being from the first group would allow you to:

  • go to Germany
  • search for a job in Germany
  • apply there
  • and apply for a work and residence permit directly from the “Ausländerbehörde” (Foreigners’ Registration Office)

As a citizen from any other country, you will have to apply for a job from your home country successfully.

After that, you can apply for an entry visa from the German embassy for employment purposes.

By doing that you are eligible to travel to Germany to apply for the work and residence permit at the “Ausländerbehörde.”

Applying for a job being in Germany

However, you can also apply for a job-seeker visa for Germany at any German embassy.

You can then go to Germany.

There you could apply for a job from within the country.

And then submit your residence permit application after successfully being offered a job.

There is one thing you can’t do: enter Germany with any other kind of visa and then apply for a work permit. Your application will immediately be rejected.

Best qualifications for working in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country?

Any qualification within the STEM fields and the Medicine and Nursing sector always seem to be in high demand.

STEM fields:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

Most of the occupations from these disciplines are always on the shortage occupation list.

Germany actively welcomes foreigners to work in STEM fields, plus the medical sector.

They also lowered the minimum required salary for the EU Blue Card to 43,056 Euro per year.

So, as long as you have a degree, it will be easier for you to come to Germany and get your Blue Card.

Here, you can learn more about getting registered in Germany.

In Germany, there were about 820,000 job vacancies in February 2022, according to a statistic from Arbeitsagentur, the German job center.

I put together an overview of Germany’s currently most demanded jobs here for your information.

And if you’d like to know more about whether your university is recognized in Germany right from the start, you should consider checking the Anabin database.

How to apply for a work visa in Germany as a non-EU citizen?

As mentioned above, you have to apply for a work visa at the German embassy in your country.

You may either apply for an employment visa or as an alternative to a job-seeker visa for Germany.

The process depends on whether you have a job offer or not at hand.

Do I need a job offer to apply for a work visa in Germany?

To apply for a work visa in Germany, you need to have a job offer from a company in Germany.

Moreover, you must be willing to enter the country to get your work and residence permit there.

In case you haven’t found a job yet, you only can apply for a job-seeker visa to find a job from within Germany.

The job-seeker visa is valid only for six months. It allows you to look for and find a job.

If you can find a job, you can submit your application for Germany’s final work and residence permit.

There are some pre-required steps that you need to be working on before you are eligible to apply for your work and residence permit:

  1. Register your address in Germany
  2. Get health insurance in Germany
  3. Open a bank account in Germany
  4. Get all required documents ready for your visit at “Ausländerbehörde”
  5. Make an appointment at “Ausländerbehörde.”
  6. Submit the final application for a residence permit for work

Is German required when working in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country?

From my own experience, it’s more than helpful if you have a business-level proficiency in speaking German.

In addition to that, there is also the skilled worker immigration act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetzt). It defines how proficient your knowledge of the German language should be.

This act says that, as long as you have fully recognized vocational training or finished your degree at a university, you won’t have to prove any German knowledge.

If your profession is not recognized, the adaptation qualification has to be confirmed first. You also need a German level of at least A2 for that.

If you would like to start your apprenticeship, vocational training, or “Ausbildung” in Germany, you at least have to show an intermediate level of B1 business German to be eligible to start an “Ausbildung.”

Learn more about Vocational training in Germany in my article:

Ausbildung in Germany: Your Fast Track to Best Jobs

Language certificates must usually be based on a standardized language test according to the standards of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE).

Currently, the certificates of the following institutions are recognized:

  • Goethe-Institut
  • Telc GmbH
  • TestDaF-Institut


Germany is an immigration friendly country. And working in Germany as a foreigner will certainly be a great experience for you.

There are several different types of visas that you can apply for.

For you, the job seeker visa or the regular work visa, depending on your situation, are those you would like to take a look at.

One last piece of advice I’d like to give you is to make sure that you get the timings right for your visa.

Booking visa interviews up to three months in advance proved very helpful for my friends. The visa approval itself again takes a few more weeks.

If you mind those timings and follow the process outlined above, I am sure you will be able to find a job in Germany as a non-EU citizen very soon.

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