Can I work during my studies?
Many students aim to work alongside their studies, which is not restricted. However, there are certain regulations to follow. It is important to know the labour laws for international students so you do not break them.
Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have the same access to the labour market as Germans students. You can work up to 20 hours per week. If you exceed this amount, you will be required to pay into the German security system.
For students from other countries, special legal regulations apply:
The residence permit for studying purposes does not allow you to be self-employed or work as freelancer.
You can exercise employment if it does not exceed 120 full or 240 half-days in the calendar year. This right is usually documented in the residence permit. A half-day implies that the daily working time does not exceed 4 or 5 hours (depends on the regular working time, if it is eight hours, the half day is counted as four hours).
Students who want to work more hours need a permission from the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für die Arbeit) and the Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde). Whether you are given permission depends on the situation on the labour market in the region.
However, there is an exception: working as an academic assistant as there is no limit to how many days academic assistants may work. You still have to inform the Foreigners' Office though. If you are not sure what category your job falls into, you can contact the International Office.
You can find further information on this webpage: “Information on the Legal Framework Conditions for the Gainful Employment of foreign students, university graduates, scientists and other academics” from German Academic Exchange Service.
The minimum wage in Germany is 9,19 EUR per hour. However, how much you can earn however depends on a number of factors such as regional labour market situation, the industry and, of course, your skills. In some cities hourly wages can be higher than in Magdeburg, but so is the cost of living. For academic assistants, production assistants in industry or service staff at trade fairs the average hourly wage is often somewhat higher than the minimum wage.
Insurance & Taxes
Usually, all employees in Germany usually must pay taxes and make a contribution from their earnings to social security such as the nursing care insurance, pension and unemployment insurance.
If you have a so called "mini-job" earning less than 450 Euro per month, you do not have to pay taxes or make contributions to the German social security system.
If you regularly earn more than 450 EUR, a certain amount will be taken from your wages every month as your contribution to the social security system. However, earning less than 9.168 EUR a year does not require paying taxes. If you regularly work under 20 hours a week (part-time employment), you usually do not exceed this amount. Furthermore, there are exceptions such as short-term employment, for example.