Job searching in Germany

Are EU citizens allowed to enter and stay in Germany for job searching?

EU citizens are allowed to enter and reside in Germany for the purpose of job searching according to section 2 I No. 1, 2. Alt. Act on the Freedom of Movement (FreizügG/EU). For entry, EU citizens only need a valid passport or identity card.

The right to reside in Germany for job searching lasts for three months. It may be extended as long as the EU citizen can prove that he searches for work seriously and with prospective success. After three months, the Aliens Department may require the EU citizen to show evidence that he fulfils the requirements on the freedom of movement.

How may EU citizens searching for work inform themselves of job vacancies in Germany?

Nowadays, the Internet is the prime medium for job searching in Germany. Additionally, the International Placement Service of the Federal Employment Agency in Germany can be consulted.

Another excellent opportunity is our job-network "EU to Germany". Place your application profile in our database. Ten thousands of employers have access to it.

Unemployment benefits

Are EU citizens, who entered Germany for job searching, entitled to unemployment benefits according to the Third Book of the Social Security Code (SGB III)?

Generally, EU foreigners, who just entered Germany for job searching, are not entitled to unemployment benefits. An entitlement to German unemployment benefits comes only into consideration, if their last employment was in Germany and all other requirements are fulfilled. These requirements are not fulfilled by any EU foreigner not employed in Germany so far.

Potentially, EU foreigners may export their entitlement to unemployment benefits from their country of origin to Germany for a three months period. Under certain circumstances the period can be expended to six months for the purpose of job searching in Germany.

That implies that they are registered as unemployed in their country of origin and have submitted a request using a form to their employment administration.

Social benefits

Do EU foreigners, who entered Germany for job searching, have a right to basic social security for unemployed (ALG II / Hartz IV) or to social assistance?


According to section 7 I sentence 2 No. 1 Social Security Code Book II (SGB II), job searching EU citizens, like all other foreigners, during their first three months of residence in Germany are not entitled to benefits referring to the Second Book of the Social Security Code. They receive no social benefits from the state of Germany.

Also after the first three months, EU foreigners do not receive any benefits for basic social security for unemployed (ALG II / Hartz IV) according to section 7 I sentence 2 No. 2 SGB II, if they reside in Germany for the purpose of job searching only.

According to section 23 III SGB XII, foreigners have no right to social assistance, if their residence title is solely based on job searching.


EU foreigners, who search for work in Germany, have a right to social benefits from the state only, if they were employed in Germany in the past or if they are citizen of an EU member state, which signed the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance of 11. December 1953 (EFA). From the member states that joined in 2004, this only accounts for the citizens of Estonia and Malta.

Acceptance of job qualifications

How are qualifications approved that were gained in other member states?

A procedure of job qualification acceptance is necessary for any profession regulated by German national law.

Any profession not regulated by German national law does not require any acceptance procedure.

Academics can get an individual evaluation of their certificates from the Central Office for Foreign Education. This may improve their job chances in Germany.

Are employers allowed to require German language skills for a position?

Employers are allowed to require German language skills as mandatory for an employment from applicants from other EU member states. Yet, the required German language skills must be adequate and necessary for the advertised position.

The language skills may by no means be a pretence to discriminate against or exclude EU citizens. Of course, there are positions that require very good German language skills. Yet, it is not allowed to require the applicant to be "native speaker".