You can also register as a jobseeker with the Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) if you are already in work but would like to change job. In this case, you are offered advice about your opportunities in the labour market and informed of vacancies.
The following warning signs suggest that an offer from a recruitment agency is probably not trustworthy:
- If you have to pay for placement services in advance. Fees are permitted for some services provided by recruitment firms, such as translations of necessary documents, or costs for the outward and return trip. However, you do not have to pay any fees where it is unclear what you are being charged for. And you should not pay for anything in advance.
- If you are told that you owe the recruitment agency money for obtaining the necessary papers.
- If you are not allowed to contact the employer yourself, or you do not have the employer’s address or full name.
- If you do not have an employment contract or any exact information about the work you are to carry out.
- If you do not have any information about your board and lodging.
You can also obtain information about a recruitment agency from the competent employment authority in your home country. If the recruitment agency in question is German, you can obtain information from the
Besides assistance in looking for a job or vocational training place, you and your family members can also receive advice and support from the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) in the following areas:
- careers advice,
- vocational training,
- continuing vocational training, including for people in employment,
- vocational integration of people with disabilities.
You can also receive financial support during the many steps on the way to finding a new job, for example
- funding for continuing training,
- travel expenses in connection with interviews or financial assistance for application documents,
- job application coaching,
- language skills development.
If you are working in another EU country, you and your family must be treated in the same way as your colleagues who are nationals of that country. The principle of equal treatment not only prohibits open discrimination; it also bans all rules which discriminate against you indirectly. One example of this is if applicants for a job have to meet requirements which are typically more difficult for foreign nationals to meet than Germans, in cases where these requirements are not actually necessary for the job in question. You can enforce your right to equal treatment in court.
Freedom of movement for workers is one of the EU’s fundamental freedoms.
It allows the citizens of the , as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, to work in any of these countries without requiring a work permit.
The family members of these countries’ citizens are also entitled to freedom of movement for workers, even if they themselves come from a third country.
Free movement of workers entitles you to:
- look for a job in another country,
- work there without needing a work permit,
- live there for that purpose,
- stay there even after your employment has finished,
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the host country in terms of access to employment, initial and continuing training, trade unions, housing and all other social and tax advantages, as well as in terms of working conditions.
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.
In principle, you are subject to the social security system of the country where you work. In other words, if you start a new job in Germany, Germany’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.