Working in Germany

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Looking for more information on working in Germany? Read this for details on all that you need to know about an employment during your study course.

Working in Germany as an international student

Have you decided to pursue higher studies in Germany, but still not sure about the working and social security system for international students? Don’t worry; we’re here to help you with all the information you need. In this article, we will talk in detail about the social security system and work life as an international student in Germany.

Working as an international student in Germany – Is that possible?

As an international student in Germany, you’ll require some extra money to meet your expenses. But, it is equally important to concentrate on studies and make sure your academic life does not get affected by your employment.

If you’re exploring the option of “social insurance,” make sure you are registered and enrolled with all valid documents and proofs. The study must be your primary focus area.

During each semester, your work hours must not exceed twenty hours a week. However, you are free to work over the weekends, evening hours after classes, and semester periods. There are no time restrictions during these periods.

The immigration law allows international students to work in Germany and the permitted work period is 120 – 240 days.

Social security contribution – when is it due?

If your work hours do not exceed twenty hours during your academic term, you are not required to pay anything towards state nursing care, health care insurance, and the state employment insurance. But, as soon as your income exceeds 450 Euros per month, you’ll be required to contribute to the state pension scheme. The employee makes 50% of the contribution, and the employer makes the remaining 50% contribution.

Even if you are not exceeding the twenty hours rule or working on weekends, if you cross the 450 Euros mark, you’ll have to contribute.

Students working more than 20 hours

If you work more than 20 hours every semester, it will be a mandate for you to contribute towards the social security system. 


  • Job duration – 0 to 2 months
  • Weekends
  • Evening hours

Becoming an employee officially

In one year (365 days cycle), if you complete 26 weeks into a job or exceed a limit of 20 hours in a week, then you will become an employee and will not be treated as a student anymore. Your student status will be taken away, and you will be treated as an employee. Once you get the stature of an employee, it will be mandatory for you to contribute towards social security.

What are mini jobs or small jobs for international students?

Mini-jobs are also known as 450 Euro jobs.

If you’re doing a mini job, your income will be less than 450 Euros per month. During the social security assessment, if all your jobs sum up to exceed an income of 450 Euros, you’ll not be considered as employed in a mini-job. And, if your primary occupation is student, then you’ll only be required to contribute towards the state pension scheme.

If you’re with the state health insurance, your employer will be required to pay a fixed sum to the state pension insurance or the state health insurance. For students who have a private insurance or are insured through MAWISTA, CareConcept or any other, the employer is not required to pay anything towards health insurance.

Internship for foreign students

If you’re interning during the course of your study and the internship is a part of your course and examination curriculum, you’ll be exempted from the social security contribution. However, you will be required to present your enrollment certificate as a proof.

If the internship is not a part of your course but related to your subject in some way, and your salary is less than 450 Euros per month, you will not be required to contribute towards social security.

Any internship before your course begins or after you complete your course will not be exempted from the social security contribution.

Getting employed during your semester

If you’re only working in your summer break, your total working hours per week will not be considered, and you will not be required to make any contribution towards the state unemployment insurance, state health insurance, or state nursing care. This will be a case of short-term employment (employment less than 60 calendar days or 50 working days per year). However, if the employment changes into long-term employment and your income becomes more than 450 Euros per month, contribution towards state pension schemes will become mandatory for you.

How to get a social security card or social security number?

If you are getting employed for the first time in Germany, you will need a social security card. This applies to a large number of international students in Germany.

Your first employer will apply for the social security card. The mini-job application has to be submitted to the headquarters of mini-job, and you need to get in touch with a public health insurance company for employment with social security.

Your employer will then receive a social security number of your behalf, and you will receive a social security card sent by post.

The social security card comes with lifetime validity.

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