Residence and employment
Nationals of EU Member States can take advantage of unrestricted freedom of movement for workers and are not subject to any restrictions regarding work permits. The same applies to nationals of the EEA States Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Swiss nationals are equivalent to EEA nationals.
Nationals from countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) - so-called third country nationals - need a residence title (visa, residence permit, EU Blue Card, settlement permit or the permanent EU residence permit); Please see Leaflet Employment of Foreign workers in Germany for more information.
Access to the German labour market and approval
Access to the German labour market is determined by the provisions of the German Residence Act (AufenthG). For a residence for the purpose of gainful employment, the approval by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) is always required. This approval can be obtained in an internal procedure from the German agency abroad in the country of origin (visa centre) or the responsible local immigration authority in Germany. The permit for taking up employment is awarded along with the residence title.
For an approval, it is always required that a legislative provision grants access to the German labour market there is a concrete job offer and there are no preferential workers available for the concrete job and the conditions of employment are comparable with those of domestic employees (labour market test). Specialised expert teams at the employment agencies in Essen, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Munich and Stuttgart are responsible for the approvals regarding residence permits.
For general enquiries, you can reach us at:
Phone number 0228 / 713-2000 > press key 1 in the voice menu
Monday - Thursday from 08:00 a.m. - 04:30 p.m.
Friday from 08:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
If you have concrete questions regarding your application, you can reach your contact person directly at the regional locations or by calling the number 0228/713-2000 and pressing key 2 in the voice menu.
You can visit us in person on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Information for Asylum seekers and refugees
If you have already been recognised as a refugee, you can take up any kind of work.
If your asylum process is still ongoing, you are an asylum seeker. This means that you can only start working when the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) permits it. This also applies if you have "exceptional leave to remain" (Duldung) status. Asylum seekers and those with exceptional leave to remain can only work after a three-month waiting period. If you have found a job, you should contact the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) which will deal with any further matters.