Working as an International Student in Germany (2021)

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Can you work as a student in Germany? How much can you earn and how to find a student job?

A working student is known as “Werkstudent” in German. Many students in Germany prefer to be a Werkstudent. Working as a student in Germany besides your studies can be of great advantage to you in different ways. The German economy and job market are favorable for working part-time as there are many different types of work opportunities for international students in Germany. It will provide you with an opportunity to earn some extra income to support your living besides gaining work experience in a foreign country which could boost your career later. Therefore, in this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about working in Germany as an international student.

Types of Students Jobs in Germany

There are different types of part-time jobs for students in Germany. You can either find an on-campus job at your university or you can work outside the campus.

On-campus Jobs

Bachelors and Master students can work at a German university or research institute besides their studies. This position is called HiWi (Hilfswissenschaftler / Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft). Some job advertisements show as “SHK” (Studentische Hilfskraft) instead of HiWi which is mostly used synonymously, however, SHK excludes any kind of postgraduates from the position as the term focuses on students only.

Doing a HiWi job can be a good opportunity to enhance your knowledge and gain some research insights. Depending on the position described in the job advertisement, you might for example work for one of your professors as an assistant, support research in a lab or be a supervisor at the library.

Off-campus Jobs

There are different types of off-campus jobs available for students in Germany. You can work as a Werkstudent in a company, at a restaurant, retail store, delivery services, trade fairs or you can work vocational/holiday jobs (e.g. working at a factory). However, the ideal job would be something related to your studies. For example, an art student working in a museum, an IT student working at an IT company.

You can also find HiWi jobs off-campus e.g. in research institutes.

Off Campus Jobs: Working at a Restaurant

Rules and Regulation For Working as an International Student in Germany

There are laws that decide maximum working hours for students who wish to work in Germany. Therefore, you must be aware of them in order to avoid any trouble. Some very basic ones are listed here:

For Non-EU students:

International students from non-European Union (non-EU) countries experience restricted working access as they are allowed to work only 120 full days (8 hours/day) or 240 half days (4 hours/day) per year. Moreover, they are not permitted to work as a freelancer or self-employed for which a permit must be sought from the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) if the conditions are met.

For EU students:

International students from the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland have the same rights as German students and free access German job market. That means they can work unlimited hours and also carry out freelance and self-employed activities.

Can I Work More Than 20 hours/per Week (120 Full Days or 240 Half Days per Year)?

Per week you may work more than 20 hours if it does not exceed the yearly limit i.e.120 full days or 240 half days. If you exceed your work limit of 20 hours per week or 120 full/240 half days per week, you’ll:

  • Suffer your studies and may not be able to manage it.
  • Pay nursing care insurance and unemployment contributions which otherwise you’ll not pay.
  • Your tax class will change and you’ll have to pay extra tax according to the German tax law.
  • If you are earning less than 450 euros you don’t have to pay taxes and social security. Above this, you have to normal taxes which change according to the amount you earned.

Note: If you exceed your working hours limit, you must inform the Foreigners’ Office if they would allow you or not.

Tip: You should only choose the lecture-free period to work extra hours to manage your study.

How Much Can I Earn Working as a Student in Germany?

How much you will earn by working a part-time job depends on various factors such as your academic level (a Master’s student will probably earn more than a Bachelor’s student), nationality (as European students can work more than non-EU students), and the sector and city in which you want to work. However, the minimum wage as of February 2021 in Germany is 9.50 euros an hour. It is reconsidered after every two years. Generally, students in Germany can earn up to 450 euros (also know as minijob) easily by working during their studies which can cover their basic expenses but this amount might not cover your entire living costs in Germany. You don’t have to pay taxes on earnings up to 450 euros but as soon as you cross this limit you have to pay the monthly income tax. You can file for income tax returns at the end of the year if you do not earn more than 9408 euros per year. If you earned more than that, you are required to file a tax return. Please check your monthly earnings vs taxes and return on tax that you can get back at the end of the year.

Earning as a Student in Germany

My Earnings Working as a Student in Germany

In my first job working as a student at a German university, I earned less than 450 Euros (net income). In the second job above 600 Euros (net income) and in my last job working as an in a Germany company, I was earned 1200 Euros net.

How to Find Student Jobs in Germany?

It can be tough to find a student job in Germany. The following are some ways to help you find a student job.

  • You can look for the jobs provided by your regional employment agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). They have a separate section for jobs for students.
  • If you are willing to work at your university then you must inquire with the HR office, student services, your professors or research groups. In most cases, there is an online list for positions to work as a student.
  • Check your university’s notice boards for relevant advertisements, especially the ones at your own faculty
  • If you are looking for a side job you can search at top job finding websites such as Stepstone, Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn and Xing, etc. These website sites provide up-to-date listings of different part-time jobs. Besides, you can use filters such as (Werkstudent, Minijob, internship, and thesis) depending upon your search intention.

Pro Tips To Find Student Jobs in Germany

  • Do research about the student’s jobs you want to apply for.
  • Make sure you have written a good CV and cover letter after have done proper research about the job position and the company.
  • If you are interested in industry-oriented jobs, look for companies in your city that offer jobs that match your skillset.
  • Learn German as it will enhance your job chances. English jobs are less and have more competition. If you know German, you have unlimited job options.
  • Try to find work as an HiWi because there is no limit to how many hours academic assistants may work as it is considered as part of your studies. However, you have to inform your other employer if you are working beside the HiWi at some other place. If you are uncertain what category a job falls into, you may ask for help from student services or the International Office at your university.
    Note: Some universities have internal restrictions on how many hours you work as a HiWi since they do not want you to deviate from your studies and finish your study in time.
  • In most cases, students working as student assistants, working at IT and engineering companies, production assistants in industry, or temporary staff at trade fairs are paid slightly higher than the minimum wage.
  • Any job that would cover your expenses is good but you always try to find a student job that will help your career after your studies.

A complete article on how to find student jobs will be released on 05.03.2021 to describe the difficult jobs situations during the Covid-19.

What is Leazear?

At Leazear, we are developing digital products for international students coming to study in Germany. We have released our community forum for international students that you can join and help each other. In the future, we are bringing you an all-in-one software in collaboration with German universities that will guide you through each and every step of the admission and relocation process to Germany.

We have partnered with Germany’s top health insurance providers both public and private. You can get the German health insurance certificate online through Leazear for your enrollment and visa extension.

Quick Links

How to Find Student Jobs in German Universities – HiWi Guide >>

Guide for International Students Traveling to Study in Germany (2021 and Covid-19 Restrictions) >>

More related quick links coming soon as the articles are ready.

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