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02 Jun. 2024

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Employment for Ukrainians in Germany: everything you need to know

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Employment for Ukrainians in Germany: everything you need to know

Germany has one of the most powerful economies in Europe, which has a positive impact on the living standards of its population. That is why, after the start of the full-scale invasion, a large number of Ukrainians chose this country as a new place for permanent residence and work. Find out more about the labor market in Germany, employment opportunities and salaries in 2024

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Germany, like other EU members, has simplified the employment mechanism for Ukrainian citizens who are granted temporary protection. However, it should be clearly understood that only obtaining this particular status provides for permission to look for a job - if you are just staying in Germany on a visa-free basis for the standard 90 days, this opportunity is closed to you. Exceptions: those who already had a work visa or a full-fledged residence permit at the beginning of the war and whose stay is about to expire. 


In the previous article, we talked about a new law that will greatly simplify the procedure for obtaining German citizenship. However, there will be serious requirements for candidates for a German passport.


Peculiarities of employment of Ukrainian IDPs in Germany


Ukrainian immigrants who have been granted temporary protection in Germany can work officially without any difficulties. Restrictions on employment apply only to those who arrived on the basis of a biometric passport or visa and were granted refugee status. If you have temporary protection and want to find a job, you must first obtain a work permit. This can be done at the Department of Foreigners' Registration. When a residence permit is issued, a record is made in the document about the possibility of engaging in paid work, even if you do not have a specific job yet. No other permits are required for employment.

According to Volume III of the Social Code (SGB III), persons with temporary protection are entitled to receive counseling and employment assistance from employment agencies. German law enforcement agencies recommend taking up employment under a contract and obtaining a work permit. Ukrainians receive this permit immediately after registering with the city council (Rathaus). Illegal work is punishable by fines for both violating labor laws and receiving social assistance without justification.

Despite the official work permit that Ukrainians receive upon entry in accordance with §24 of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens, confirmation of a higher education diploma can take time and bureaucratic checks. For example, to work with children in a kindergarten or school, in addition to a medical examination and EU-recognized vaccinations, you need to obtain a police permit and an invitation from the regional education department.




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What are the chances for Ukrainians to find a job in Germany?


German labor market experts believe that Ukrainian refugees have good chances of finding employment in the medium term. These conclusions were made on the basis of a new survey by the Institute for Research on the Labor Market and Professions (IAB). However, more than 40% of employment centers claim that they do not have enough staff to counsel refugees, spiegel.de reports.

The IAB survey covered 256 employment centers, which is 63% of the total number. According to the study, 80% of employment centers agree that refugees from Ukraine have good prospects in the German labor market in the medium term. Three-quarters of the respondents (74%) believe that Ukrainians have an easier time integrating into the labor market than many other refugees. In addition, 56% of the centers say that Ukrainian refugees have knowledge and skills relevant to the labor market.

In 28% of employment centers, they believe that Ukrainian refugees have a chance to find a job in the areas where they worked in Ukraine. At the same time, half of the Jobcenter representatives only partially agree with this statement. However, about 43% of employment centers in the first quarter of 2023 reported a shortage of staff to counsel and employ refugees.

According to a new review by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the employment rate of Ukrainian refugees increased in almost all European countries assessed from September 2022 to September 2023. In Central and Eastern Europe, the rate reached approximately 66%, while in Germany it was only 25%.


You can read more about the new system of distribution of newly arrived Ukrainians to reduce the flow of refugees in Germany here.


Finding a job for Ukrainians in Germany


The best place to go is the Federal Employment Agency. On this page there is a button “Search for a department”, thanks to which you can find the nearest one to visit for registration and for advice. Or you can call 0911 178-7915 (Mon-Thurs 08:00 - 16:00, Fri 08:00 - 13:00) - Ukrainian-speaking consultants are on the line. This way has many advantages: everything is free, there are opportunities for career guidance and retraining or upgrading, etc. This is in addition to the fact that they will look for a job for you.

Just like if you are staying in Berlin, you can go to the main station (3 Washington Square, Berliner Klub - just as you exit the station to the square) on weekdays from 10:00 to 13:00.


Rights and obligations of an employee in Germany


Looking for a job in Germany involves considering different working time models to choose the most suitable option according to your capabilities and life circumstances. The main types of employment include the following:

1. Vollzeit (full-time employment): 35-40 hours per week. This is a standard form of employment for those looking for a stable and full-time job;

2. Teilzeit (part-time employment): 10-30 hours per week. Suitable for those who need flexibility or combine work with other responsibilities;

3. Minijob: the maximum salary is 520 euros per month. This is a recommended source of additional income, as it does not cover health insurance, does not entitle you to unemployment benefits, and rights to pension benefits are limited in the absence of main employment;

4. Midijob: the maximum salary is 1600 euros per month. This is a compromise between minimum and full-time employment with appropriate social guarantees.

In addition, you can find a job with an individual schedule, remote work or shift work, which allows for more flexibility in the daily routine.

In Germany, every official employment is accompanied by the signing of an employment contract in two copies - one for you and one for the employer. Be careful: if you are not asked to sign a contract or are offered a salary of less than 12 euros per hour (gross), this may indicate illegal 

employment.


Minimum wage in Germany in 2024


The Minimum Wage Commission (die Mindestlohn-Kommission), which includes representatives of trade unions and employers, has proposed to increase the minimum wage in early 2024. It is planned to increase the minimum wage by 41 cents per hour, which will bring it to €12.41 per hour, which means an approximate 3.4% increase. The next increase is scheduled for January 1, 2025, to €12.82.

The commission's proposal is yet to be approved by the government. The increase to €12.41 in 2024 will result in a wage increase of only 3%, which is significantly less than the annual inflation rate of 6.1%. For this reason, Stefan Körzell, a member of the board of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), said at a press conference that the minimum wage should be raised to €13.50 per hour to compensate for inflation. However, the head of the commission and employers' representatives did not support this proposal.

In 2023, the minimum wage in Germany was €12 per hour.


Earlier, we told you that cash withdrawals to refugees will be limited in Germany. However, people seeking asylum in the country will receive a single payment card.


Studies show that manual laborers earn less than representatives of other professions. According to Gehalt.de, the lowest salaries in Germany are earned by workers in the gastronomy and service industries. Here are examples of average salaries for some professions:

1. Confectioner, baker - €34,647 per year (€2,887 per month);

2. Butcher - €34,959 per year (€2,913 per month);

3. Painter - €35,603 per year (€2,967 per month);

4. Plumber, air conditioning and heating specialist - €43,777 per year (€3,648 per month);

5. Metalworker, miller, welder - €42,533 per year (€3,544 per month);

6. Mechanic - €47,104 per year (€3,925 per month).

Doctors and account managers earn the most in Germany. The average salary of doctors is €80,772 per year, and that of managers is €75,671 per year. These professions remain the highest paid due to the high level of responsibility and qualifications required to perform them.


If you are interested in the issue of migration and face any obstacles or difficulties, we recommend that you entrust this matter to professionals - Visit Ukraine lawyers will help you with the collection of documents and provide advice using an individual approach. You can get acquainted with the consultation packages here.


We remind you! Citizens of Ukraine can obtain a Blue Card for long-term residence and employment in Germany. It allows not only to work and live in the country, but also provides an opportunity to obtain a permanent residence permit and even citizenship. Read more about what is required to obtain the relevant document.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.






Ihor Usyk is the Head of Legal Department at Visit Ukraine


On the Visit Ukraine portal, you can get legal advice on migration law. Our lawyers will answer all your questions and, if necessary, help you collect, submit and receive the documents you need. You can order a specialist consultation or full legal support by following this link.



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