Working & Social Security System
When I came to Germany to study at Goethe University, not having obtained a full scholarship, I knew right away that I would have to earn some money in order to support myself during my studies. I was among those who simply had to work, however, there are students who see it as an opportunity to get some useful job experience and boost their CVs. In fact, around two-thirds of all students in Germany work.
- Working as a Foreign Student in Germany
If you are a foreign student looking for a job your first stop should be the “Schwarze Bretter”– large bulletin boards containing job information which are located where students can easily spot them: at universities, libraries, supermarkets. I chose to work in a library, because I thought that it would be a great way to supplement my studies, but job options for students are abundant, ranging from pubs, babysitting, copy shops, all the way to working in an office or at research institutes. What you need to know is that because your main occupation is considered to be that of a student, the amount of time you can spend working is limited. If you are a foreign student, not coming from the EU or EEA, you are allowed to work 120 full or 240 half days in a year ( unless you are a research assistant or work at the university). If you are from the EU or EEA, then you can work for the unlimited amount of time. However, if your work exceeds 20 hours week, unless you work only on weekends or in the evening hours, you will be regarded as an employee and be obliged to make mandatory contributions to the state pension scheme.
- Kinds of Social Security Payment
If your work exceeds 20 hours a week you will have to pay: pension insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance. While pension insurance normally amounts to 9.45% of income, student contributions are lower (or they are exempted if their income is up to 450 euros).
If you do not earn more than 450 euros a month, then you do not have to pay taxes or social contributions. However, if your income exceeds 450 euros, you will have to obtain income tax number and start paying both taxes and social contributions.
- Internship While Studying
If you need to complete a mandatory internship ( required by your study program) then whatever you earn is exempt from social contributions. If it is not mandatory, then you will still not have to contribute to social security funds, for as long as your salary does not exceed 450 euros and your work is related to undergraduate studies.
It is important to respect these job-related laws, because breaking them can result in you being expelled from Germany. The reason is that study comes first and you are expected to regard it as your priority. However, depending on your skills and abilities, you can still earn some money while studying in Germany. But follow the rules and get informed.