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29 Jan. 2023

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Employment rules in Germany: for which Ukrainians can receive a fine of up to 50,000 euros

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Employment rules in Germany: for which Ukrainians can receive a fine of up to 50,000 euros

Most of the refugees from Ukraine who found refuge in Germany are already employed. However, the country strictly controls the labor market and imposes heavy fines on people who work illegally. Learn more about illegal employment and how to avoid fines

An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine
An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine
BUY


According to data from the migration platform EWL and the Center for East European Studies of the University of Warsaw, more than 45% of refugees who found work in Germany do not plan to return to Ukraine within a year after the end of the war. For such Ukrainians, the cornerstone of arranging life abroad is employment.


It is worth remembering that Germany strictly controls the labor market and imposes large fines on violators. The country is particularly strict with illegal employment — the amount of the fine can reach 50,000 euros.

We tell you what illegal employment is, how to check your status and avoid fines.


Read more about the types of work visas in Germany and how to get one here.


What is illegal employment?


Illegal work (Schwarzarbeit) is employment without registration with the social insurance authorities and the tax inspectorate. Non-registration means that your employer does not pay taxes and social security contributions for you.


It is also considered illegal to work without a permit to stay in the country and to work. In order to work legally, your protection certificate (Fiktionsbescheinigung) must be marked "Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt". It must be provided when the document is issued, but if it is not there, contact the Department of the Administration for Foreigners (BAMF).


It is prohibited to conduct business activities without registering and notifying the relevant institutions.


We should add that paying your employees less than the minimum wage is also a violation of the law. From October 1, 2022, the "minimum" amount is 12 euros per hour.


What is the penalty for illegal employment in Germany?


Ukrainians often agree to informal employment. After all, this can be a quick solution to the problem of finding a job. At the same time, employers accept illegal workers to avoid paying taxes and social contributions. That is why punishment for illegal work will be borne not only by the employee, but also by the employer.


The employer can be imprisoned for up to 5 years, and the employee will be forced to pay a fine of up to 5,000 euros if he works without the appropriate permit.


How to find out if a person is officially employed?


We recommend that you pay attention to the following factors that indicate that you have not been officially registered:


• The employer does not ask for the necessary documents: social insurance number (Sozialversicherungsnummer), tax number (Steuernummer) and health insurance certificate (Krankenversicherungsnachweis);

• You receive your salary in cash, because in Germany the payment is usually transferred to a bank account.

• Contact the Faire Integration Advice Center if you do not know whether you are registered with government agencies.


Penalties for illegal work for illegal employment in Germany:


Punishment for violation of labor legislation applies to both employees and employers.

- If you are an employee, after finding a job, make sure that the employment is official.

- If you are an entrepreneur, do not violate the law to avoid a fine or arrest.

After being accused of illegal employment, your guilt will be assessed. As a result, a decision awaits you - you have committed an administrative offense or a crime.


Tip: Check for yourself whether you are working legally. Ignorance of your status, like ignorance of local law, does not exempt from responsibility.


Administrative penalty


In the event of administrative liability, you will receive a fine of up to 50,000 euros.

A fine can be imposed if a person:

• will not register the business;

• will not enter the company in the craft register;

• will provide the necessary documents later than the deadline or will not provide them at all.


Criminal punishment


The relevant bodies can make a decision, according to which the entrepreneur is found guilty of committing a crime. Then the person faces either a fine or arrest.

Let's give an example when an offense is recognized as a crime:

• employ staff and not pay contributions to the social insurance fund for them;

• hire foreigners without necessary permits and documents;

• to create worse working conditions for foreigners than for German citizens.


We will remind you! Refugees from Ukraine in Germany continue to look for work. Currently, certain professions are in demand, and employers are actively looking for specialists. Learn more about what specialists are currently needed in Germany in our material at the link.

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