Work permit

Working in Europe | Work permit | Germany

Third country nationals (non-EU foreign nationals) who wish to pursue gainful employment in Germany usually require a residence permit authorising gainful employment. Application should be made to the Immigration Office at your destination, possibly together with visa formalities in advance.

Information about the various residence permits available for third country nationals can be found under Visas and Entry.


If you want to spend time in Germany researching on the basis of a fellowship, provided that the fellowship secures your livelihood, and depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a residence permit for the purpose of either research, pursuing gainful employment or studying.

If you are employed in Germany based on an employment contract, in principle only German labour laws apply to you. The German labour laws includes numerous regulations to protect the existence of the employment relationship (protection against dismissal, time limitation, etc.) as well as employees' health (working time law, workplaces ordinance and many other regulations) and their material needs (ban on immoral practices, a partial national minimum wage, or generally binding collective agreements, etc.).

Persons requiring particular protection are protected by special laws:
  • Expectant and nursing mothers by the Maternity Protection Act ("Mutterschutzgesetz")
  • Parents by the Parental Allowance Act ("Bundeselterngeld") and Parental Leave Act ("Elternzeitgesetz")
  • Young persons by the Youth Protection Act ("Jugendschutzgesetz")
  • Trainees by the Vocational Training Act ("Berufsbildungsgesetz")
  • Disabled persons by Book IX of the Social Code ("Sozialgesetzbuch")
  • In general, protection is provided against discrimination e.g. due to ethnic origin or race but also due to age in the General Equal Treatment Act ("Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz").


Further information

  • Studying and working in Germany
    Access to the German labour market
    Federal Foreign Office
  • Make it in Germany
    The "Welcome to Germany" Portal of the Qualified Professionals Initiative
    Make it in Germany
  • Recognition of vocational qualifications in Germany
    The recognition portal of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research gives information on how to proceed if you wish to have foreign vocational qualifications recognized in Germany.
    Federal Ministry of Education and Research