Employment in the public administration (public service) is, in principle, also open to EU citizens and to non-EU nationals. In addition, as an EU citizen you can also become a civil servant in Germany (Beamtin or Beamter). This is explicitly regulated in Section 7 of the Act on Federal Civil Servants (). European law allows access to the core area of sovereign functions of the public administration to be restricted to a country’s own nationals (one extreme example: the office of the German President). However, the vast majority of positions in the public service in Germany are not subject to this restriction.
The same legal situation applies to your family members. The family members of EU citizens also have equal access to the labour market (Article 23 of Directive 2004/38/EC). This access includes employment in the public service as employees and as civil servants.
Tip: If you are interested in a job in the public administration, don’t hesitate to apply. Increasing the proportion of people with a migration background working in the federal public service is a stated aim of the Federal Government.
EU citizens who are subject to German social security law have the same rights and obligations as Germans. They cannot be treated worse because of their nationality. If the entitlement to a benefit depends on the completion of certain insurance periods, such as in the German statutory pension insurance, these requirements must also be met by EU citizens. If the insurance periods in Germany are not sufficient to justify the claim there, the insurance periods completed in other EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland will also be taken into account. This ensures that insurance cover is not lost or insurance periods expire if EU citizens decide to work in another of these countries.
Two factors determine which country’s social security system applies to you:
- Your work situation (you are employed or self-employed),
- Your country of residence (but not your nationality).
You cannot choose which country’s system applies to you.
More detailed information on this can be found in a guide published by the European Commission. You can download the guide in your preferred language at the following . Click on the language in question at the bottom of the page.
Please note: Social security systems vary a great deal from country to country. Find out what rights and responsibilities you have in the country whose system applies to you. Here you will find an overview of the social security system and social benefits in Germany.
An overview of the social security systems of other countries can be found .
This overview is divided into 12 chapters (tables): financing, health care, sickness – cash benefits, maternity/paternity, invalidity, old age, survivors, accidents at work and occupational diseases, family benefits, unemployment, guaranteed minimum resources and long-term care.
In this context, a worker is defined as being someone who
- performs services
- for another person
- under that person’s direction
- for a specific period of time
- and is paid for doing so.
Whether these criteria are met is determined on a case-by-case basis. There are no minimum requirements regarding the number of hours to be worked or the level of earnings. People who work part-time and low earners can still be classified as workers.
Self-employed persons are not classified as workers and are therefore not covered by freedom of movement for workers. Their right to work in Germany is based on either the freedom to provide services, if their registered office is in another country, or the freedom of establishment, if their registered office is in Germany.
Students are not workers. However, they can be regarded as workers if they are employed during their studies.
Starting from your first day of work, you have the same entitlement to:
- Access to vocational training, vocational schools and continuing vocational training,
- Access to housing, including social housing, or advantages when buying a home,
- Social and tax advantages, including supplementary cost-of-living benefits if your income is too low.
Likewise, in the workplace, you must be treated in the same way as your colleagues who are nationals of the host country. This applies in particular to:
- Pay, dismissal, and other conditions of employment and work,
- Health and safety in the workplace,
- The right to be a member of a trade union, to elect its executive or to be elected to a position in a trade union.