Why Working in Germany?Trends on the German labour market are looking good. The number of employed, at over 41 million, has never been higher. Yet at the same time, some sectors and regions are already lacking qualified professionals. If nothing is done, by 2025 demographic changes will have created a shortfall of more than 6 million workers” (Make It In Germany Initiative). Germany is already suffering from a skilled workforce shortage, which will only increase. This opens up a lot of potential for international professionals who can imagine working in Germany. Most international professionals moving to Germany are surprised at how good the working conditions are in Germany in comparison to some other countries. German employees earn some of the highest salaries in Europe, and have very clear and structured benefits and legal job protection. Working hours can be between 35 hours/week to 40 hours/week and depending on the job of course, some receive up to 30 days/year of holiday. Employees in Germany enjoy a high rate of legal protection, and there are a large variety of support systems run by both private and public organisations to protect and support international employees. And let’s not forget the great food, culture, health system and beer!
So, what should you do before moving to Germany?
Before you move to Germany, make sure you are fully aware of your legal situation and have a valid passport or identity card. You should be aware and have informed yourself about where you will be moving and what to expect. Employers will often help in the transition.
Be aware of the housing situation in the area you are moving to, and start looking for housing before you come. Your employer may be able to help you, but finding permanent accommodation should be a priority as your registration will open the way for various other necessary steps.
Depending on your nationality, you might need a visa, residence permit and/or work permit. Also, please bring all necessary documents, or at least certified copies with you, to avoid stress later on.
This includes things such as work recommendations and certificates and also importantly, health insurance information. Be proactive and inform yourself to avoid problems down the road!
It is a good idea to make sure you have the following before you come to Germany, and bring them with you:
- Passport or identity card valid for the entire period of residence.
- (If necessary) Visa, including for accompanying family members.
- Several biometric passport photos.
- Birth certificate (original).
- Marriage certificate (original).
- Latest educational certificates.
- Insurance documents, if available: third party insurance, health insurance, accident insurance, car insurance (Only if valid in Germany, if it is, you also need an official confirmation by the health insurer that the insurance cover is valid in Germany).
- Medication, a letter from your doctor regarding existing conditions and your vaccination passport.
You are probably wondering: “How much German do I need to know?”. As in pretty much every other country, it is an advantage to speak the local language. However, not do your job! Many Germans learn English in School, and you will find that in urban areas and larger cities many people speak English or even Spanish. The tendency in smaller family-owned companies and smaller towns in rural areas has been to increase the use of English as a business language, thanks in part to globalization and international business partners or clients.
Should you learn German?
Any additional foreign language will only be a benefit to you. You won’t need German to work, but it may help you to settle in if you have a basic understanding of the language. Any employer, colleague, neighbor or friend will appreciate you making an effort, and it may even help officials be more forthcoming and friendly!