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South Africans in Germany

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Working in Germany

Help others to understand the Employment Visa process by sharing your experiences.
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Releated content

Visa application tips

We are not immigration agents, and your first point of contact should always be the German embassy or consulate in South Africa.Most of the information

Sozialversicherung / Social Insurance

The following Social Insurances are payable in Germany when you are a full-time employee or trainee: Krankenvesicherung / Medical Insurance Plegeversicherung / Long Term care

Medical

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone visiting or living in Germany.When living in Germany you can either take our private (privaten Kran­ken­ver­si­che­rung – PKV) or

This page is under construction, we are adding the new rules


New Skilled immigration Act – Changes coming in November 2023 and March 2024. The latest information can be found Anerkennung-in-deutschland website  and Make it in Germany website

The highlights for Vocational careers:

New from March 2024

  • Residence for professional recognition: Those participating in refresher training or a compensation measure in Germany are able to enter Germany for this purpose and in future remain for up to a maximum of three years. The prospective skilled worker can also take up secondary employment of up to 20 hours per week.
  • The new recognition partnership enables individuals from third countries to first enter Germany and then to carry out the entire recognition procedure in Germany. For this, the prospective skilled worker and their employer are required to apply for recognition after entering Germany and to actively engage in the procedure, including the training. Residence is possible initially for one year and can be extended for up to three years.
  • In future, if the competent authority in the recognition procedure suggests a skills analysis, the prospective skilled worker can enter Germany for this purpose and remain for up to six months.
  • In future, individuals with vocational experience can enter Germany for employment in all non-regulated professions. The requirement for this is a completed professional or higher education qualification recognized in the country of training and at least two years of experience in the intended profession. Under certain conditions and as an alternative to a state-recognized qualification, a qualification from a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad is sufficient. Formal recognition of the professional qualification in Germany is not necessaryIT specialists also still do not need a qualification.

Vocational careers are where you apply hands-on trade school experience in a professional environment. Currently, there is a big demand for skilled craft and tradesmen in the following sectors (according to make it in Germany)

Construction and development, Metal and electrical industry, Wood and plastics industry, Property cleaning trades, Artisanal food production, Healthcare and personal hygiene trades, Clothing, textile, and leather trades, Graphic design trades

Also have a look at the other professions in demand (Nursing, Engineers, IT Specialists, Scientists and Physicians)

 

Recognition of South African Vocational qualifications

If you completed your vocational training in South Africa, you may need your qualifications to be officially recognised. You can find information on the following websites:

Finding a job in Germany

The make it in Germany website has excellent information about finding a job in Germany.
Other options include

EU Bluecard

The EU Blue Card scheme is aimed at qualified academic professionals employed in a position commensurate with their qualification and with a designated minimum remuneration (threshold as of 1 January 2024: €45,300 gross per annum, subject to change). Comprehensive information on the EU Blue Card is also available here.

If you do not have a university degree, you must demonstrate that you have a tertiary-level qualification that took at least three years to complete in order to obtain an EU Blue Card. In Germany, this qualification must correspond to at least level 6 of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011) or level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework. Examples of such training qualifications include “Master craftsman training/ Master craftswoman training” as well as professional qualifications in educator professions.

Vocational training in Germany

You can apply to do your vocational training in Germany. You will need some level of German proficiency, depending on your type of visa
See more on our Vocational training page or the links below

The information about Visas  will be updated as the new changes are implemented

Visas

  • If you have a job offer you can apply for an employment visa 
  • Have you applied to have your professional qualifications recognised and the competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany has determined that your qualifications cannot be fully recognised due to missing qualifications? In such cases, you can attend a qualification program in Germany in order to acquire the missing theoretical and/or practical skills. Examples of this would be company training courses, technical training courses, preparatory courses or job-related German language classes.
    To take part in these programs, you require a residence permit for the recognition of foreign qualifications (Section 16d AufenthG (German Residence Act)). More information on make it in Germany
  • Job seekers visa – If you’re having difficulties searching for a job from abroad, you can apply for a residence permit that enables qualified professionals to enter Germany for the purpose of seeking employment in accordance with Section 20 (1) (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act). See more on make it in Germany
  • If you received qualified vocational training, you can receive a residence permit (without the consent of the Federal employment agency) that enables you to obtain employment in Germany as a qualified professional. See sections 18a and 18b of the German Residence Act

One particular option is provided by the Skilled Immigration Act: Under specific conditions, companies are able to apply for an Accelerated procedure for the residence of Skilled workers from third countries. The purpose of this is to shorten the duration of the recognition procedure to two months. Also see the Make-It-In-Germany website

Tip:  Under certain conditions, you can enter Germany for 6 months after completing your professional training in order to search for a job. You can find out more at visa for jobseekers.

Related content

Recognition of studies

Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to have either your Matric/Grade 12 or South African degree or other qualifications and experience formally recognised

Curriculum Vitae and Resume

It is important to have your CV or Resume in the correct format. In Germany the prefer a Resume for job applications. CV –  a

Au Pair in Germany

  • Au Pair is by definition a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with childcare and childcare-related housework in exchange for food, a room and some pocket money. 
  • Young men can also apply for Au Pair positions
  • The aim of being an Au Pair is to improve their language skills and get to know the culture of the host family.
  • An Au Pair you can be asked to do light housework, but the main duties are childcare.
  • You cannot be from the same country as your host family,  For South Africans, this means you cannot work for a South African Family in Germany unless there is an adult German national in the family. 
  • You cannot Au Pair for someone if there is a family relationship between you and the host family
  • For third-country nationals, employment may only take place in host families in which German is the mother tongue

What you need to know

Age

Third country nationals between the age of 18 and 26 can apply for Au Pair positions in Germany.
If you are an EU citizen you can apply up to the age of 30.

Experience

The applicant does not need a formal childcare qualification, but a genuine interest in children and caring for them is important.

Education

An Abitur equivalent qualification is preferred but not required. 

Salary

An Au Pair does not earn a salary,  but gets pocket money. The 2023 pocket money rate is €280 per month.
Board and lodging must be provided for by the host family. 

Accomodation

  • Board and lodging must be provided for free to the au pair. They take part in the communal meals and eat the same food as the family. If a specific diet is desired, this must be stated in the application
  • This must be an individual room in the family’s home and have a window, heating and a minimum size of 9 sq meters.
  • The room must have a lock.

Work Contract

  • Before the start of the au pair relationship, a written contract detailing the mutual rights and obligations must be finalised. 
  •  If harmonious coexistence is not possible, the au pair agency should be informed as soon as possible. They will try to get as objective a picture as possible and to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides. If there is a serious reason, the au pair relationship can be terminated without notice.
  • Au pair contracts are usually for a minimum of  6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
  • If the applicant worked as an Au Pair previously in Germany or changed their visa type from Au pair to another type (for example Ausbildung) they cannot apply for further Au Pair positions in Germany. Renewed employment as an Au Pair is not possible, even if the max period of 12 months has not been reached.
  • Working hours is max 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week. Overtime must be compensated in time. 
  • Taking care of private matters for example keeping your room clean, does not count as housework time.
  • The Au Pair is entitled to at least 1.5 full days off per week. At least one Sunday per month must be free. 
  • At least 4 evenings per week must be free.
  • They must have free time for language courses, religious activities, cultural events and excursions.
  • If the work contract is for a full year, four weeks pad vacation must be granted else they are entitled to two working days for each full month worked
  • If the family goes on vacation and take the Au Pair with, it counts as work time if the Au Pair must perform certain task and have obligations like looking after the children. It counts as a holiday if attendance is not compulsory and only insignificant tasks have to be taken on. 

Duties

The daily tasks of an Au Pair depend on the characteristics and lifestyle of the host family.  

  • The main responsibility is to assist with childcare but light housework can also be part of the duties. These can include supervising younger children, accompanying them to kindergarten or school, and taking them for walks or to certain events.
  • Duties can also include light housework for example, preparing breakfast or other simple meals, keeping the house clean and tidy, and washing and ironing. 
  • Duties do not include caring for the sick or elderly.
  • It is important to be clear about what is expected by the host family.
  • Get everything in writing.

Legal

  • The “European Agreement on Au Pair Employment” passed by the Council of Europe in 1969 contains framework regulations on living and working conditions, language classes, social security and the rights and obligations of the host family and the au pair.
    This convention has not been affirmed by the Federal Republic of Germany, and is therefore not considered legally binding. However, the significant criteria of the convention are considered applicable within the Federal Republic of Germany. 
  •  Gesetze im Internet Section 12 Au pair employment

Language

  • The minimum language requirement is German on level A1 of the Common European language Framework. This means the au pair can understand and use familiar, everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at meeting specific needs. They can introduce themselves and others and ask other people questions about themselves
  • The host family must allow time for the Au Pair to attend an in-person language course and must pay 840 per year or €70 per month towards the language course costs. The obligation only exists insofar as the respective expenses are actually incurred. However, the au pair must bear the costs for other events themselves. The host family must also pay the necessary travel expenses to attend the nearest German language course that is suitable for the au pair.
  • The rest of the cost must be covered by the Au Pair. 

 

Learning German

There are several approaches to learn German, all of which can help you achieve your language learning goals. You can opt for convenient online sites that offer a range of language courses

Marital status

The applicant may be married.

Health Insurance

According to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, the host family is responsible for arranging health, accident and liability insurance coverage and for bearing the costs. 

Medical

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone visiting or living in Germany.When living in Germany you can either take our private (privaten Kran­ken­ver­si­che­rung – PKV) or public (gesetzliche Kran­ken­ver­si­che­rung – GKV) health insurance.

Benefits

There are many benefits to working as an Au Pair.

  • The opportunity to explore Germany.
  • Experience a the German culture.
  • A great way to improve your German language skills. 

 

Emergencies

The first point of contact in emergencies is the placement agency. When this is not possible, Au Pairs can contact the counselling service or the hotline of the Aupair Society e.V. 
These numbers are intended for emergency calls only.

  • Emergency hotline – telephone counseling: + 49 – 800 111 0 111 or + 49 – 800 111 0 222 2
  • Emergency hotline Aupair Society e.V.: + 49 – 800 110 287 247

Visa application Tips

  • Au pairs from South Africa need a residence permit (visa/residence permit). The residence permit must be applied for in the form of a visa (National Type D) before entering Germany at the German embassy or diplomatic mission
  • Approval to take up employment is granted with the residence permit if the Federal Employment Agency has approved the employment. Therefore, the visa entitles you directly to the employment specified in the visa. However, you should not start working before you have received your visa or residence permit. Before the visa expires, which is usually issued for three months, you must apply for a residence permit at the immigration office responsible for your place of residence. The local foreigners authority is also the first point of contact for questions about residence and employment.
  • You must be able to pay for your own travel cost to Germany
  • You need a motivational letter in German and it is important to show your ties to South Africa and your plans to return back home
  • You must supply CV in German
  • Apply for a police clearance certificate well ahead of time, but remember the certificate is only valid for 6 months
  • Visa Checklist from the German Embassy in South Africa
  • You can look for a host family yourself, but It is advisable to work through an agency.

Where to search for Au Pair positions

Information on the web

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Volunteering

People from 3rd world countries can apply to do volunteer service in Germany. There are four types of Voluntary services in Germany, that you can apply

Moving to Germany

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The thought of starting a new chapter in your life

The German Vocational Training System

An Ausbildung is a form of vocational training or apprenticeship where a student attends school and works simultaneously. The student gains both theoretical and practical

List of Long Stay Visas

Long Term visas are seen as visits longer than 90 days and will typically be for work or study visits. If your application is approved,

Working in Germany

Everything you need to know about finding work in Germany, what your resume must look like,  recognition of studies, vocational careers, medical, pension and taxes.

When it comes to working in Germany, one must be aware of the various types of employment visas available. These visas can range from temporary to permanent, and may differ in eligibility requirements depending on your specific circumstances. 

New Skilled immigration Act – Changes will be implemented in phases, in November 2023, March 2024 and June 2024. 
Detail about the changes can be found on the Make it in Germany website

Here is a link to the official Information about the Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz (Skilled Immigration Act). Currently it is only available in German.
The latest information in English can be found Anerkennung-in-deutschland website  and Make it in Germany website

Types of Employment Visas

According to the German Embassy in South Africa, you can apply for the following types of Long Stay visas, if you want to work in Germany: 

Type of Visa Additional Info Make it in Germany link Residence Act
Blue Card University degree and minimum salary per year.
It has more benefits than other employment visas
 EU-Blue Card  
Skilled worker holding a University degree   Work visa for qualified professionals Section 18b of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  if holding a university degree
IT specialist with professional experience   – Visa for IT professionals
– IT Specialist in Germany
Section 18a or 18b of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  for skilled workers with a vocational training qualifications
Research      Section 18d-f of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  Temporary residence permit for mobile researchers
  – Work visa for qualified professionals.
– Craftspeople and Trade
Section 18a of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  for skilled workers with a vocational training qualifications
Work in case of partial recognition of qualification    Visa for recognition of foreign qualifications Section 16d of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  Measures regarding the recognition of foreign professional qualifications
Crew Members or River Cruise Vessels      
ICT Card for intra-corporate transferees      Section 19 of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  Measures regarding the recognition of foreign professional qualifications

Professions in demand

The list of in-demand professions is updated regularly. To see the current list, visit the Make it in Germany website from the Federal Government.

Visa and Residence

Temp Aufenthalt

Residence in Germany

A Visa allows you to enter Germany, and stay for no more than 90 days in a 180-day cycle.When you want to stay in Germany

Visa application tips

We are not immigration agents, and your first point of contact should always be the German embassy or consulate in South Africa.Most of the information

Family Reunification Visa

“German citizens or citizens from non-EU countries who have an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) or a Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit) are allowed to bring their relatives to

List of Long Stay Visas

Long Term visas are seen as visits longer than 90 days and will typically be for work or study visits. If your application is approved,

Career

Vocational Careers

This page is under construction, we are adding the new rules New Skilled immigration Act – Changes coming in November 2023 and March 2024. The

Recognition of studies

Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to have either your Matric/Grade 12 or South African degree or other qualifications and experience formally recognised

Curriculum Vitae and Resume

It is important to have your CV or Resume in the correct format. In Germany the prefer a Resume for job applications. CV –  a

Career coaching

Career coaching or counselling is professional advice and support to help you manage your education and career. This could be in the form of workshops,

Networking

In todays connected world it is important to manage your online professional identity. Many companies find potential staff via professional networks like LinkedIn, and they

Study in Germany

Types of learning institutions Hochschule is the name for higher education. Under this, you can get the following institutions.  Fachhochschule – University of applied sciences. 

Freelancing

You can set up your own business in two ways, one is to work as a freelancer or as a self-employed entrepreneur (Gewerbe). 
If you want to work as a freelancer in Germany, you will need to apply for a Residence permit for the purpose of freelance employment.
Freelance occupations can be practised for so-called Liberal professions (Freie Berufe) and can include artists, writers, language teachers, engineers, auditors, interpreters, Business or management consultants, architects, translators, and surveyors.
Healthcare workers like doctors, dentists, vets and physiotherapists also fall under liberal professions.

Financial

Sozialversicherung / Social Insurance

The following Social Insurances are payable in Germany when you are a full-time employee or trainee: Krankenvesicherung / Medical Insurance Plegeversicherung / Long Term care

Income Tax / Lohnsteuer

We receive a lot of questions about income tax declarations and where to get help, especially getting help in English.First I have to state that

Pension

Homepage of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Information about the German state pension scheme can be found on their homepage for foreign languages. The German site has a lot more information.

Medical

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone visiting or living in Germany.When living in Germany you can either take our private (privaten Kran­ken­ver­si­che­rung – PKV) or

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