Unemployment insurance

Leaving Europe, Working in Europe | Departure conditions/formalities, Unemployment | Germany

Under certain circumstances it is possible to have your accrued rights to unemployment benefits transferred to another Member State of the EU, EEA State or Switzerland or to countries with a Social Security Agreement. To what extent rights accrued in Germany will be recognised by your target country can only be clarified in the respective country.

Within the EU, sections 61 to 65 of Regulation (EC) 883/04 regulate the aggregation of periods of insurance, employment and self-employment.

Art. 61 requires member states to take periods spent in other member states into account. Within this, periods of employment and self-employment are only recognised if they were regarded as periods of coverage in this member state. The member state in which the unemployed person worked immediately before becoming unemployed is responsible for them and therefore also liable for payment of their unemployment benefits. The principle of the country of employment applies.

This means that the unemployed person is not entitled to unemployment benefits in the other member states in which they were previously entitled.

Therefore, if you are planning a research stay abroad within the context of an employment relationship, are made redundant and then return to Germany, you will be dependent on the benefits system of the country in which you were last employed and will usually only receive benefits from them if you make yourself available for work there.

Art. 64 of the regulation provides mitigation: the opportunity exists to travel to another EU member state to seek work without losing your entitlement to benefits. The period in which benefits will be provided may be extended by the employment services in the responsible country (in which the unemployment person is no longer located) from the three months foreseen in the regulation to a maximum of six months.

Germany has reached agreements on social security benefits with many other countries. However, this international legislation has no direct impact for those affected. Instead it must be implemented by the national legislators.

Please see the website of the German liaison office for health insurance abroad ("Deutsche Verbindungsstelle Krankenversicherung") for the original wording of the agreements.


Further information

  • EURAXESS - The European Services Network
    EURAXESS Services is a network of over 500 centres located in more than 40 European countries. As a researcher, these centres assist you and your family to plan and organise your stay in a foreign country.

    EURAXESS Centres