Earning Money

By taking on a part-time job, you earn some extra cash, get to know Germany better and you make friends. Here are some of the things you should bear in mind when you look for a job.

For many students in Germany, it's quite normal to work part-time while studying. A part-time job can help students make career decisions, it's a welcome change from phases of intensive academic work, and it supplements incomes. As an international student, you are also allowed to work in Germany. However, certain rules do apply.

How much am I allowed to work?

European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals have the same status on the job market as Germans.

Are you a citizen of one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or United Kingdom ? (Group 1)

Then you are allowed to work as much as you wish without a permit. However, you should remember that you should not work for more than 20 hours a week during the semester (the same applies to German students). Otherwise you will be required to pay pension insurance contributions. Furthermore, you wouldn't have enough time for your studies.

Are you from Romania or Bulgaria ?

Then the following applies: You do not have rights of access to the German employment market until 2014. Until then, you may work only 120 whole or 240 half days a year and you are subject to the limitations that apply to students from other countries (see below).

Do you come from another country?

Then you are permitted to work only 120 full or 240 half days a year. This also includes voluntary work placements. If you wish to work more, you need a permit from the "Agentur für Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) and the foreigners' authorities. Whether or not you are granted a permit depends on the employment situation in your university town. You will have less chance of obtaining a permit for more working days in regions with a high level of unemployment.

Important to know:

• You may exceed the 120-day limit if you work at your university as a student or graduate assistant. However, even in this case, you must inform the foreigners' authorities.

• You are not permitted to work in a self-employed or free-lance capacity, for example as a translator. If you are unsure about what kind of job you have been offered, consult your university's welfare department or the "Agentur für Arbeit".

• Regulations are particularly strict for participants of language courses or "Studienkolleg" students: You may only work in lecture-free periods and only with the consent of the foreigners' authorities and the "Agentur für Arbeit". Contact the International Office to find out how to obtain this permit.

It is essential that you comply with labour laws for international students. You may be expelled from Germany if you break these laws. The advisers for international affairs at the "Studentenwerk" or International Office at your university will be glad to advise you.

IMPORTANT: You will not be able to finance yourself entirely by working part-time while studying! And it is not easy finding a part-time job in all towns.

What are typical part-time jobs for students and where do I find them?

Many students work part-time as waiters in cafés, as hosts at trade fairs, as bicycle couriers, office assistants, cleaners or babysitters. Offers for this kind of job can be found in the small ads of regional or local newspapers, but also online with the Agentur für Arbeit and job service offered by the "Studentenwerk" at your university. Many universities and "Studentenwerk" services also list job vacancies on their websites. One ideal and popular way of supplementing incomes while studying is by working at university institutes, in libraries or at other university facilities. If you're interested in this kind of job, contact your department secretary about vacancies for student or graduate assistants and tutors. Also check postings on notice boards outside libraries, lecture halls and the canteen. You will find plenty of job vacancies advertised here.

What do students earn?

How much you earn in your part-time job depends heavily on your experience, the sector and the employment situation in which you are working. In cities like Munich and Hamburg, student wages are usually higher, but so is the cost of living. Five to ten euro an hour is usual.

Suggested links:

Now you know what you have to bear in mind if you want to earn some extra cash while studying. We have compiled some useful information about gaining initial professional experience under work placement.