Work Permit in Germany
Once you have your residence permit, you can apply for a Work Permit.
To do so, you will need to go, in person, to the same office that handled your residence permit, i.e. the Ausländerbehörde or Landratsamt.
And you will need to bring with you your Meldebescheinigung (registration certificate), your Auftenhaltserlaubnis (residence permit) and written proof that you have a job offer, usually a certified letter from the employer saying that they are willing to take you on.
If you are coming from an European Union country, then you should have no problem getting this permit as you will be treated with the same status as Germans.But if you come from a non-European country, such as Canada, Australia or USA, getting a work permit might be quite a bit harder. Unemployment is currently high by German standards and of course priority is given to Germans and Europeans. But, if you can show that you possess critical skills, with a high level of education, your chances are much better. Germany is trying to attract highly qualified immigrants and some skills are more in demand than others.Also, family members of a person with critical skills might be given work permits in order to keep this highly qualified worker in Germany.
One of the best way to find employment in Germany, especially for executives and specialists, is to use the services of an executive search firm, called Personalberatung in German. This service is usually free for those looking for job and they can look for you even if you are not yet in Germany.
As elsewhere, the newspapers can be useful for looking for jobs or to place an ad yourself. The Saturday editions are usually helpful in that regard. There are also many websites for jobs in Germany and in Europe, and one of them lists jobs specifically for companies in which English is the main language spoken at work:
There are four of these sites, one for Munich, one for Berlin, one for Frankfurt and one for Hamburg.
The labour office,
can also help you find a job through their job listings. You can go there even if you do not have a work permit, and it is free.Be aware that even though a knowledge of English might be a plus in finding a job, a functional working ability in German is necessary for most positions (as well as being simply a courtesy to your German co-workers).Also, German CVs are a bit more "inclusive" than North American ones. On top of listing all your education and work experience, they usually ask for your marital status, your age and sex, and a recent photo. Including letters of reference is also a good idea. Employers are allowed to ask about your health and criminal record, but can NOT ask a woman about whether she is pregnant.
You will also have to fill in job applications and of course, there are interviews. If you have an interview, remember that Germans are rather formal when it comes to business meetings, so dress accordingly and don't be too friendly or familiar with the interviewers.
A work permit is issued for the same duration as the residence permit and must be renewed before expiration, the same as the residence permit. Also, a work permit is issued for a specific job only and you must reapply for a different job. It is not a permit for general employment.
For those who would like to be self-employed, you must demonstrate that your potential business is viable and that you will bring prosperity to Germany. Germany will consider your business as having a positive effect on its economy if your bring a capital of at least 1 million euros and create at least 10 jobs. If you do not have a million euros with you, you can still apply for a residence permit, but your chances of getting it are obviously not as good. It is decided on a case per case situation and the Ausländerbehörde or Landratsamt can give you more information about the whole process.
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Once you have your work permit, got to the German workplace section to get a better idea of what to expect as an employee.
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