Work during study in Germany: For students who have locked-in Germany as their study abroad destination, the next obvious question is whether they can work during study in Germany, and what sort of job they can take up, provided they are allowed to work during study. It is a natural concern if you take into account the fact that studying abroad is a costly affair. Although Germany is not as costly as Australia, the UK or the US, but still there is a lot of money to be accounted for. While applying for visa, students need to give proof that they have minimum 8,000 euros to survive the first year. Also, while tuition fee is exempted for bachelors and consecutive master’s degree programs, postgraduate students do have to pay tuition fees in Germany.
Students of all stripes can benefit by working during study in Germany
While a select few students manage to secure scholarships to sponsor their study-abroad program, the majority of international students either have to take loans or self-finance their studies. Finding work during study in Germany many a time helps these students stay afloat and give their families some respite. Also, it is not that scholarship winners would grudge a part-time job opportunity as apart from earning some extra money, they can also use the opportunity to put their theoretical experience to practical use and even get a first-hand experience of the German labor market.
Work during study in Germany: Opportunities and restrictions
If you look around, you will see that countries like New Zealand have very generous work during study scheme, allowing international students to work for up to 20 hours per week with a minimum assured salary of NZ $14.75 per hour. Interestingly, skill shortages in sectors like construction, engineering, finance and business, and science make it easy to land a job in New Zealand.
In Germany, though, there are certain distinctions between international students from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and those from other countries, the former enjoys almost equal status to German students and have free access to the German job market. Students from the EU or EEA don’t even need a work permit to work and can work for up to 20 hours per week (or more provided they pay into the German social security system).
Meanwhile, students from other countries don’t enjoy the same benefits and there are certain differences:
They can work for maximum 120 full or 240 half days
To work more than the prescribed limit, students need a permit from the "Agentur fÃ¼r Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) and the foreigners' authority
Additionally, students outside the EU or EEA aren’t permitted to work in the capacity of as freelancer or be self-employed
Further, whether you are issued a permit to work beyond the usual 120 days depends largely on the job market of your city; if unemployment rate in the region is high, you are less likely to get a permit and vice versa. The employment laws regulating international students are very strictly followed and non-compliance may even lead to expulsion from the country, so you need to be very careful and knowledgeable about what you are allowed to do and what you are not.
Mandatory internship vs. optional internship
You may take up internship work during the semester break to gain practical work experience in your chosen field of study, but it can be regarded as “normal” work even if you aren’t paid for it. Consequently, for every day of your internship, a day will be subtracted from your 120-day credit balance. The only time an internship isn’t regarded as regular employment is when it is part of your curriculum or integral to your degree (mandatory internship). If you are looking for work during study in Germany, you should definitely explore this option as you are assured of a gross monthly amount of 670 Euro. Mandatory internship may last up to 12 months, though you aren’t obliged to complete it in one block.
You can work as an Academic or Student Assistant for as long as you want
If you are looking for work during study in Germany, it is among the best. Because, while the rules concerning employment are pretty stringent, if you take up the role of an academic or student assistant, you can virtually work for an unlimited period of time. The only thing you need to do is inform the Aliens Department about your decision. And please bear in mind that just because there isn’t any restriction on how long you can work as an academic or student assistant; it shouldn’t hamper your studies in any way.
Work during study in Germany opportunities limited for students in language courses or preparatory colleges
Unlike students who are enrolled normally at universities and colleges, those attending language courses or preparatory colleges face more stringent regulations when they seek work during study in Germany. To begin with, they need to first get approval of the Aliens Department and the Employment Agency, and even after that they are allowed to work during the lecture-free period.
How to find work during study in Germany
If you want to work while studying in Germany, you better contact the regional employment agencies catering to international students. In cities like Berlin, where there is a thriving international student community, Studentenwerk, which is the German National Association for Student Affairs, helps students get jobs through its job agency. In fact, some students run job agencies themselves, so it is a good idea to have your contacts in place who can inform you immediately if an offer comes up.
Jobs vacancies are also posted on university notice boards. Other places to look for jobs are the regional or local papers, especially the appointments sections which advertise vacant positions.
The issue of health care insurance while working during study in Germany
When you are studying in Germany, you are normally covered under the student health insurance (which is in fact mandatory for admission in most German universities), so you needn’t get insured separately as employees. Consequently, you don’t have to contribute towards health insurance. It is only when you work more than 20 hours a week, you may have to contribute towards health insurance. Since the question is a bit tricky, it is a wise idea to get the facts straight with your employer.
Stay tuned to www.studyabroad.careers360.com for more news and updates on Germany
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