Many international students work while studying in Germany. Part-time work helps international students to gain work experience and cover their expenses. The German Student Union reports that an international student needs an average of EUR 867 for living expenses. Scholarships or savings may not be enough to cover all the expenses of studying abroad.
Being a student-friendly country, Germany offers immense work opportunities for international students. Several companies offer internships or part-time positions for students. But before you can join an employer for a part-time position, it is important to keep a few key things in mind. This article will help you understand the regulations governing international students in Germany. Also, discover tips and resources to help you work while studying in Germany.
How many hours can international students work while studying in Germany?
Work can be classified as either full-time or part-time. In Germany, a “full day” is defined as 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. Part-time work represents anything less than 40 hours per week.
For students from the EU regions
Students from the EU have the same rights as German students. They are allowed to work for 20 hours per week part-time. Working for more than 20 hours requires EU students to pay insurance contributions.
For students from Non-EU regions
International students from Non-EU regions are subjected to a few legal regulations. They can work up to 120 full days or 240 part days a year. But non-EU international students cannot work as freelancers or be self-employed.
Students who wish to work more must get permission from Agentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) and the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ office). The chance of being accepted to work for more hours depends on the labor market. Students have a better possibility of receiving permission in regions of low employment.
Agentur für Arbeit refers to a job center. There is at least one Agentur für Arbeit in every German city. The center guides job seekers in Germany regarding job interviews, training, and choosing the right jobs.
The foreigners’ office (Ausländerbehörde) is responsible for all matters relevant to foreigners. It oversees and handles the entry, departure, and employment of foreigners in Germany. You can find a “foreigners’ office” in every city in Germany.
Working during break time
In Germany, students are allowed to work up to 2.5 full days or 20 hours per week during the semester. As a student, it is not possible to spend more time working than studying. During semester and summer breaks, students can work more than 20 hours per week for 26 weeks during the period of one year of employment. International students should remember not to exceed the annual quota of 120 full days.
An exception to work limits
If a student works as an academic assistant, there is no limit to how many days they may work. However, such students are still required to inform the foreigners’ office. Being a student assistant involves working for or at a German university against a stipend. For example, students may work in the administration department of the university. If students work for a university teacher, they are known as “Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft” or Hiwi, i.e., a graduate assistant.
Many popular universities accept international students in academic assistant positions. Working as a student assistant will not be considered under the 120 full days limit.
Additionally, mandatory internships that are part of study programs are not counted towards the 120 full days limit.
Popular part-time jobs in Germany for students
It is very common for international students to work alongside studies in Germany. In fact, students can find more work opportunities than regular job seekers.
Mini-jobs are considered a type of part-time job. Under mini-jobs, students earn up to 450 euros each month. Students have to work up to approximately eleven hours a week or 47 hours a month under this system. Students will not be required to pay taxes or social security contributions.
A midi-job is more than a mini-job but less than a full-time job. The earnings under this category are between EUR 450 and EUR 1,300. In midi-jobs, students must pay a small amount towards social insurance. They are also fully covered with health insurance, nursing care, pension, and unemployment benefits. In addition, students are entitled to holidays and paid sick leaves. However, to retain student health insurance, students are allowed to earn only up to EUR 850 per month.
In the higher education glossary, the phrase “working student” refers to those who mainly work while studying part-time. Such people students are not allowed to work under a student contract. Students can work in a company or field relevant to their studies. A working student’s job offers several benefits:
- Applying your knowledge in practice.
- Familiarizing with new areas closely related to the study field
- Possibility of receiving job offers on graduation.
- Gaining work experience and improving CV
- Opportunities for networking
Internships are of three kinds: compulsory, voluntary, and abroad. Compulsory internships are part of the study program that students are enrolled in. In compulsory internships, employers are not obligated to pay a minimum wage. So it is possible that students may earn nothing monetarily. Voluntary internships are those applied voluntarily by students. If voluntary internships have a duration of more than three months, then students are entitled to minimum pay. Students can also choose to complete their compulsory or voluntary internships abroad. However, finding such internships can be quite challenging.
- Working in a cafe or a restaurant,
- Delivery jobs,
- Courier services, etc.
Finding jobs for students in Germany
International students have multiple options to find suitable work while studying in Germany. A good place to start would be to contact Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Employment Agency). The Federal Employment Agency’s regional offices can usually present student job opportunities.
If you wish to work within your university, you can enquire about vacancies at the administrative office. Students can also check with the concerned persons within the faculty.
The universities often list the latest job openings at student service portals. Additionally, the university notice boards may have announcements for vacancies.
Students can use their network to discover unadvertised job openings. Consulting your peers, teachers, friends, and other contacts can help you land a suitable job.
How much can students earn in Germany?
The amount a student can earn while studying in Germany depends on many factors. The skillset, industry, job position, and city all play a major role in the salary a student can earn. The minimum wage in Germany since July 2022 is EUR 10.45 per hour. In cities such as Hamburg or Munich, students may earn higher. But the cost of living in prime cities is higher as well. Academic assistants tend to earn higher than the minimum wage.
Earnings determine students’ tax status. Students in mini-jobs earning up to EUR 450 a month are exempt from paying taxes or making social security contributions.
The scenario is different for students with midi-jobs. If students earn between EUR 450 and 850 per month, they will be required to register in a health insurance scheme. In reality, most international students take out a statutory health insurance policy at affordable student tariffs. In addition, students may have to make unemployment and long-term care contributions if they work more than 20 hours/per week.
Students earning more than EUR 450 per month will need a tax number. Every month, the employer will deduct a certain amount from the salary. But students can get the amount refunded by filing a tax return the next year if they earn less than the tax-exempt level during the year.
A monthly salary of more than EUR 850 may result in losing student privileges. Students would then have to pay taxes and make social security contributions like other regular employees.
To know any more details about studying in Germany and choosing the best universities, book a consultation with Gyanberry today!