Employment – foreign workers

Muster-Formular Arbeitsvertrag
Image: eccolo – Fotolia.com

General

  • You are permitted to be employed only if this is expressly stated in your residence title. (Exception: foreign relatives with a residence permit pursuant to Sections 30 – 36 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) are always permitted to work without restrictions – even if their current residence permit still includes the ancillary provision, “Beschäftigung nur nach Erlaubnis der Ausländerbehörde” (“Employment only with a permit from the Foreigners’ Registration Office”).)
  • The employment permit is always issued together with the residence title by the Foreigners’ Registration Office. As of 1st January 2005, a separate work permit, as formerly issued by the job center, is no longer issued.
  • Applications for employment permits must be addressed to the Foreigners’ Registration Office. For this purpose, you need
    • the form “Antrag auf Erlaubnis einer Beschäftigung” (“Application for an Employment Permit”), which you need to complete,
    • the form “Stellenbeschreibung” (“Job Description”), which your employer needs to complete, and
    • a credible promise of employment, or preferably an employment contract.
  • The Foreigners’ Registration Office will clarify the possibility of employment in an internal permission procedure with the Operative Services of the German Federal Employment Agency.

To what extent am I permitted to work?

The following can pursue any occupation of their choosing:

  • Holders of a permanent residence title (Niederlassungserlaubnis, unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Aufenthaltsberechtigung, Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU)
  • Holders of a valid residence permit, fictional certificate (Fiktionsbescheinigung), temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung), border crossing certificate (Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung), or certificate of suspension of enforceability of exit (Bescheinigung über die Aussetzung der Vollziehbarkeit der Ausreise) with the ancillary provisions
    • “Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet” (“Economic activity permitted) or
    • “Beschäftigung gestattet” (“Employment permitted”).
  • Holders of a residence permit pursuant to Sections 30 – 36 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz), even if it includes the ancillary provision, “Beschäftigung nur nach Erlaubnis der Ausländerbehörde” (“Employment only with a permit from the Foreigners’ Registration Office”).

The following are permitted to pursue a specifically defined occupation:

Holders of a valid

  • residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis),
  • visa,
  • fictional certificate (Fiktionsbescheinigung),
  • temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung),
  • temporary residence permit for asylum seekers (Aufenthaltsgestattung),
  • border crossing certificate (Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung) or
  • certificate of suspension of enforceability of exit (Bescheinigung über die Aussetzung der Vollziehbarkeit der Ausreise),

provided that the document includes a statement to this effect, e.g. the ancillary provision “Beschäftigung erlaubt als Spezialitätenkoch im Restaurant Berlin bis 31.12.2017” (“Employment as speciality chef in Berlin Restaurant permitted until 31.12.2017”). In this example, you would need a new permit from the Foreigners’ Registration Office even to work for a different restaurant.

You can apply for an employment permit

  • If you hold a valid residence permit, fictional certificate (Fiktionsbescheinigung), temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung), temporary residence permit for asylum seekers (Aufenthaltsgestattung), border crossing certificate (Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung), or certificate of suspension of enforceability of exit (Bescheinigung über die Aussetzung der Vollziehbarkeit der Ausreise), and
  • if the above includes the ancillary provision, “Beschäftigung nur nach Erlaubnis der Ausländerbehörde (§ 4 Abs. 2 AufenthG)” (“Employment only with a permit from the Foreigners’ Registration Office (Section 4(2) of the German Residence Act)”).

Application for an Employment Permit

PDF-Document (82.4 kB)

Job Description

PDF-Document (151.0 kB)

EU Blue Card (Blaue Karte EU)

On 1st August 2012, the EU Blue Card was introduced as a new residence title. It is issued to foreign workers for them to pursue a highly-qualified occupation, provided that the salary received for this occupation is at least equal to a statutory minimum salary.

Information about the prerequisites and required documents

  • An EU Blue Card issued in Germany entitles its holder to stay and pursue a specific highly-qualified occupation in Germany.
  • However, it does not automatically entitle its holder to find employment in another EU member state. To do this, its holder would need to obtain an EU Blue Card in the other EU member state.
  • Likewise, an EU Blue Card issued by another EU member state does not automatically entitle its holder to find employment in Germany. To do this, its holder would need to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany.

Specific benefits of an EU Blue Card:

  • It can be issued for up to 4 years, depending on the duration of the employment contract.
  • The card holder does not have to wait as long before he/she can obtain a permanent right of residence. It is possible to obtain a settlement permit after just 33 months of employment – or even 21 months if the card holder has an adequate command of German.
  • The period before the card holder can be issued with an EU long-term residence permit is reduced by the periods of previous stays with an EU Blue Card in a different EU member state.
  • The card holder can leave the federal territory for up to 12 months, without the residence title expiring as a result.

However, irrespective of the EU Blue Card, it is still possible to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of employment (see above).

Change of a residence title for employment

  • Do you still work for the same employer, but something has changed, for example the name of the company or of your job? Then please read our fact sheet for foreign workers.

Competence of the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit)

If you wish to work in Berlin or Brandenburg with a residence title for the purpose of employment, the Foreigners’ Registration Office will carry out the internal permission procedure with the following authority:

Agentur für Arbeit Essen
Team 009
Dahlmannstraße 23
47169 Duisburg

Zentrale Rufnummer: (0228) 713 2000
Fax: (0203) 9907 238
E-Mail: Essen.009-OS@arbeitsagentur.de

Please bear in mind that this procedure takes a certain amount of time.

There are certain jobs that do not require the Employment Agency’s approval. You can find out which jobs require approval, and which do not, by consulting the German Employment Act / Beschäftigungsverordnung.
This Act regulates the procedure and the granting of permission to foreigners living in Germany to pursue an occupation.

You can find more information about starting work in Germany on the German Federal Employment Agency website

Note for Employers

The German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) obliges employers to ascertain that their foreign employee is entitled to work for them before he/she starts work.

As of 26th November 2011, employers are also obliged to retain a copy of the residence title, temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung), or temporary residence permit for asylum seekers (Aufenthaltsgestattung) as a paper copy or in electronic form. Failure to do so will result in a fine of up to EUR 500,000.

Visa for entry for the purpose of starting a job

Prior review procedure

  • In cases in which a foreign worker is to be employed but is not yet resident in Germany with an appropriate residence title, employers can use the prior review procedure of the German Federal Employment Agency.
  • In this procedure, before the visa procedure has even started, or before the foreign worker has entered the country, the German Federal Employment Agency examines whether the requirements of employment market law have been met for filling a position with a foreign worker.
  • If the result of the examination is positive, the employer receives a notification to this effect, which will remain binding for six months.
  • In addition to the certainty that this procedure gives both the employer and the foreign worker, it is also possible to speed up the decision-making process in the visa procedure considerably.
  • The prior review procedure can be carried out even if the name of the foreign worker is not yet known.
  • You can find more information and the relevant forms on the German Federal Employment Agency website

Information and advice on the entry of skilled workers and entrepreneurs

  • Visa-Check of the IHK Berlin
    For self-employed persons or qualified workers who wish to know whether they need a visa, and if so, which one they need

Recognition of foreign professional and vocational qualifications

  • In order to work in your profession in Germany, it is essential for you to prove that you hold an appropriate professional or vocational qualification.
  • You can find out whether your qualification is comparable with a German qualification or directly recognized on the website Recognition in Germany
  • In addition, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) offers a telephone advice service. It provides extensive information about the necessary documents and competent authorities for the recognition procedure, as well as referring callers to the authorities relevant to their needs. It also provides information on language courses and staying in Germany. You can contact the BAMF hotline on: +49 (0)30-1815 1111 (Mon – Fri, 9 am – 3 pm, in German and English). Only the usual German landline charges will apply.