Arriving and working in Germany: what you need to know as a Ukrainian

The war in Ukraine is one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent decades. Have you had to leave your home country as a refugee, or are you helping Ukrainians affected by the war? Are you a Ukrainian who would like to work in Germany? In this article, we answer your questions about entering Germany, as well as living and working here.
30
März
2022

FAQ: essential information for Ukrainians about living and working in Germany

Yes, according to the EU Visa Regulation, since 2017, Ukrainians with biometric passports have been able to enter the Schengen area (including Germany) without a visa.

Yes, third-country nationals who have a Ukrainian residence permit (such as students and people from other countries) can also enter Germany without a visa.

Ukrainian citizens without a visa may stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. War refugees from Ukraine may stay in Germany temporarily without a residence permit until 23 May 2022. During this time, you can apply to the relevant Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) for a residence permit in accordance with Section 24 of the Residence Act and you will then be granted protection for one to three years.

No, you do not need to apply for asylum. The European Union offers war refugees from Ukraine non-bureaucratic ‘temporary protection’ under Section 24 of the Residence Act for one to three years. This means that you will receive the same financial benefits as asylum seekers. Important: if you apply for asylum, you will not be free to choose your place of residence and your accommodation. You would also not be allowed to work for at least three months.

As long as you have a permit from the Foreigners Authority, you may work in Germany as an employee or self-employed person. Authorities issue work permits for refugees quickly and without a lot of bureaucracy. If you apply for a residence permit in accordance with Section 24 of the Residence Act from the Foreigners Authority, the right to work will be included on the residence permit. You will then also be entitled to advisory and job placement services through employment agencies.

You will be subject to German labour law, which provides a high level of protection for employees. You can find the most important German labour law regulations in Ukrainian here.

In most cases, you can work in the profession you have trained for in Germany. However, some professions, such as doctors, engineers and nurses, are regulated in Germany. That means that your qualification must first be officially recognised. You can find out whether this is the case for your job on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

If you have a foreign university degree and would like to work in your field in Germany, you can check the anabin website (information in German only) to find out whether the university you attended and the degree you obtained in Ukraine are recognised in Germany. Vocational training may need to be recognised by a government agency. You can find more information on this topic on the federal government’s ‘Make it in Germany’ website or on ‘Recognition in Germany’.

If you are granted temporary protection as a refugee from Ukraine under Section 24 of the Residence Act, you are entitled to financial assistance from the German state. You will receive accommodation, money for food, clothing and a small amount of pocket money. Important: even if you do not yet have a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act, you are still entitled to state support. 

German companies are almost always German-speaking. If you want to work in Germany, learning the language is an advantage. Language courses are available in almost all cities and municipalities – many of them are offered by adult education centres (Volkshochschule) or volunteer initiatives. The Federal Employment Agency also offers job-related language courses. 

Even if you don’t have health insurance and don’t want to apply for asylum, you can get medical help in an emergency. If you need help, go to the nearest hospital or call an ambulance on telephone number 112. Even if it is not an emergency, you will receive medical care. If you are ill or in pain and have no money of your own, you can receive ‘bridging benefits’ from the social welfare office.

Yes, if you are granted temporary protection under Section 24 of the Residence Act, you will receive benefits to cover your living expenses and medical care. To receive these benefits, you must first register at a Foreigners Authority or refugee reception centre.

On the ‘Handbook Germany’ website you will find an overview in English with advice and support services throughout Germany. 

Entering and residing in Germany: first steps

Until now, the following regulations applied to entry into Germany: if you are a Ukrainian citizen with a biometric passport, you can enter Germany without a visa. You can stay in Germany for 90 days after entry. This stay can be extended by a further 90 days if you submit a corresponding application and the Foreigners Authority of your place of residence approves it. 

Important: During the 90-day visa-free period (and the extension) you are not allowed to work. To work, you need a residence permit.

Entry as a war refugee

Based on the Temporary Protection Directive of the European Union (EU), Germany will grant you protection for up to three years as a refugee fleeing the current war – without a lengthy asylum procedure. You will also be allowed to work here and will be entitled to social assistance. This also applies to people who have fled Ukraine without Ukrainian citizenship. 

You can find more information on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

 
 How do I get my residence permit?

As a Ukrainian, there are two possible ways for you to obtain a German residence permit. 

  1. As a refugee, you can apply to the Foreigners Authority of your place of residence for a residence permit ‘for temporary protection’ according to Section 24 of the Residence Act. 
    If you do not yet have a residence permit but need support (for example, accommodation or care), you can go to an arrival centre or an initial reception centre. There, you will be registered and will receive initial care.

    Important: You may only work in Germany if this is stated on your residence permit. 
     
  2. If you come to Germany from Ukraine as an academic with a recognised university degree on the basis of a job offer via the EU Blue Card, you are entitled to permanent residence in Germany after 21 months, provided you speak German at B1 level. You are also free to choose where you want to live.

You can find out more about the EU Blue Card on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

You can find the address of the Foreigners Authority in your place of residence on bamf-navi.

Working in Germany:
what you should know

After arriving in Germany, you may want to work at some point in order to be financially secure. In this section, we will tell you what you should know about working in Germany as a Ukrainian. 

What does the labour market look like?

There is currently a shortage of hundreds of thousands of people on the German labour market, and many job vacancies cannot be filled. At the end of 2021, there were 1.69 million open jobs across Germany according to the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). Above all, there is a high demand for skilled workers in IT and nursing. If you have completed vocational training or a university degree, you will have good career prospects. However, your qualification must be officially recognised here. There are also special provisions for ‘regulated professions’ such as kindergarten teachers and geriatric nurses.

You can check whether your Ukrainian university degree is recognised in Germany on the anabin website (German).

Information on the recognition of your profession in Germany can be found on the website Recognition in Germany or Make it in Germany.

The types of work available: full-time, part-time and mini-job

Companies in Germany offer jobs as full-time or part-time positions. Depending on your profession, you can often work remotely from home.

If you choose to work full-time, you will work between 36 and 40 hours per week from Monday to Friday. If your employer expects you to work overtime, they will usually need to pay you extra.
Important: the statutory maximum working time is 48 hours per week (Monday to Saturday).

If you work part-time, your salary will be paid prorated to the agreed hours. If you only earn up to 450 euros per month, your job is a mini-job, where less tax is deducted and no social security contributions are due.

How and where can I apply for a job?

In Germany, local employment agencies, among others, will help you find a job. There, you will find job advertisements and receive support with your applications. In order to apply to a company in Germany, you usually need the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae (a summary of your professional life to date, including language skills)
  • Relevant school-leaving qualifications and university degrees (if possible, translations of these qualifications into German or English)
  • References or recommendations from previous employers
Ukrainische Frau arbeitet Vollzeit in deutschem Unternehmen
Alexander Chernobelskiy, AVANTGARDE Expters

As a Ukrainian in Germany, you can also start your job search on our website. At AVANTGARDE Experts, you will find many job postings from companies in various fields on our job board. We want to support you in finding a job and offer you future opportunities if you have had to flee your home country because of the war in Ukraine. This also includes a job that offers you financial security in Germany.

We can offer you:

Do you have questions about the services we offer or about one of the advertised positions? If so, you can arrange an initial meeting with our Ukrainian colleague Alexander Chernobelskiy, who will be happy to advise you – free of charge, of course. If you have specific questions about the requirements for potential employment in Germany, please contact the relevant authorities or a lawyer specializing in this area.

Phone: +49 89 264 847 206
Email: 
alexander.chernobelskiy@avantgarde-talents.de

For many of the jobs advertised, it is important that you can speak and understand English and/or German, and you may also need to be able to read and write these languages in order to apply. 

Fortunately, there are numerous opportunities to learn German. In addition to online services and language apps, language courses are available in almost all cities and municipalities – many of them are offered by adult education centres (Volkshochschule) or volunteer initiatives. Enquire about free German courses for foreigners. The Federal Employment Agency also offers vocational language courses that prepare you specifically for your job.

You can find more information on vocational language courses in the brochures published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Learn German with the ‘Ankommen’ language app.

Signing an employment contract: what to consider

An employment contract between you and a company is concluded in writing.

An employment contract contains the following information:

  • Position
  • Start date
  • Gross salary
  • Notice period
  • Number of days of leave (in Germany between 20 and 30 days)
  • Additional rights and obligations of employees and employers

German labour law offers you a high level of protection as an employee. A court can declare employers’ clauses that would put you at a severe disadvantage as invalid.

If you want to have your employment contract checked, you can contact the advice centres of the Fair Integration Project

Read about the most important provisions of German labour law in Ukrainian here.

Ein Arbeitsvertrag regelt das Verhältnis zwischen Arbeitnehmer:in und Arbeitgeberin.

Social insurance and medical care

If you are a Ukrainian employed in Germany in a job liable for social insurance contributions and are not working in a mini-job, you must be insured in a statutory health insurance scheme (or you can join a private health insurance scheme under certain conditions). As a member of a statutory health insurance scheme, spouses and children can usually be insured free of charge under the family insurance plan.

If you have come to Germany as a refugee and have a residence permit, you are usually a member of a health insurance provider and are therefore entitled to all the regular benefits of your health insurance provider (for example, visits to the dentist or family doctor, hospitalisation, etc.).

 

You can find more information about health care for refugees in English on the Handbook Germany website.

We wish you all the best in Germany

Leaving your home country, whether voluntarily or because you were forced to do so, and building a new life in a new country is a significant challenge. Especially in these times of war, we must do everything we can to minimise suffering. That means that Ukrainians must be allowed to enter Germany without bureaucracy. Because Germany can offer you many opportunities, including a peaceful future and good working conditions. We at AVANTGARDE Experts are here for you and we will help you find a suitable job so that the Federal Republic of Germany can become your second home.

AVANTGARDE Experts hilft bei der Jobsuche - gemeinsam sind wir stark.
 

If you would also like to help war refugees from Ukraine, we can recommend the following organisations, which we also support:

Munich: MUC Hilft Ukraine (muc-hilft-ukraine.de)
Stuttgart: STELP – Donations
Cologne: www.blau-gelbes-kreuz.de
Hamburg: Spendenparlament Hamburg – Donations

  

Image credits: Titelbild © Adobe Stock/wachiwit, Image 1 © Adobe Stock/Gorodenkoff, Image 2 © AVANTGARDE Experts, Image 3 © Adobe Stock/sitthiphong, Image 4 © Adobe Stock/Tonjung

Disclaimer: The information in this article is based on the information available at the time of publication. Please also always check with the relevant information centres. This article is a non-binding compilation of the information that is publicly available anyway via the explicitly mentioned sources. We expressly assume no responsibility for its completeness and accuracy. If you have any specific questions about potential employment in Germany, please contact the relevant authorities or a lawyer specializing in this area.