Work during studying

What percentage of students work during their studies in Germany?

According to the latest social survey conducted by the ‘Deutsches Studentenwerke’, some two thirds (66%) of university students work in parallel to their studies. Making supplemental income during your studies is becoming more common in Germany. As prior-work-experience becomes more vital when applying for jobs – including entry-level jobs – and more young people seek independence from their parents, the percentage of working students continues to increase. As of late, the number of students who are solely financed by their parents is on a steady decline.

Students – both national and international are eligible to work, however some rules apply:

  • Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are entitled to work as many hours as they want, without the use of a special permit. However, to work more than 20 hours a week national insurance contributions would need to be paid, just like national students.
  • Students from outside the EU/ EEA are allowed to work 120 full days, or 240 half days per year. Students that would like to work beyond the outlined limits would need to receive permission from ‘Agentur für Arbeit’ (local employment agency) and the ‘Ausländerbehörde’ (foreigners’ registration office). Exceptions to this rule apply to student assistants, nevertheless non-EU/ EEA students must still inform the ‘Ausländerbehörde’ if they plan/ want to work more than the 120 full days a year. Non-EU/ EEA students are not allowed to undertake self-employment.

*Please note: the German labour law regulations for foreign students are very strict. Not adhering to the laws can result in deportation. For information on the legal framework conditions for the gainful employment of foreign students, click here

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