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Germany's New Visa Regulations: Boosting Opportunities for International Students and Skilled Workers

Germany is poised to become an increasingly attractive destination for students from lower-income families, thanks to recent changes in visa regulations allowing international students to work before commencing their studies in the country. The implementation of a new skilled worker law, effective as of March, permits foreign students to work during their academic pursuits, a development expected to bolster Germany's workforce. This legislation, comprising the second part of the skilled worker law following the initial enactment in November 2023, offers benefits to various groups, including apprenticeship applicants and graduates.

Germany's New Visa Regulations: Boosting Opportunities for International Students and Skilled Workers

Under the new regulations, non-EU students applying for study visas can arrive in Germany up to nine months in advance and work up to 20 hours per week. This provision allows them to engage in language courses, prepare their applications, and acclimate to the country before starting their studies. Notably, the revised law extends the permissible work duration for international students, enabling them to work from 120 to 140 full days annually or 280 half-days per calendar year. These amendments are particularly advantageous for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Previously, aspiring students were allowed to enter Germany nine months ahead of their studies but were prohibited from working during this period. Furthermore, apprenticeship applicants seeking opportunities in Germany are now granted the ability to work before and after commencing their training, provided they meet certain criteria, including proficiency in German at the B1 level and being under the age of 35. During the nine-month period preceding their apprenticeships, applicants can work up to 20 hours per week.


Graduates from German universities who are non-EU citizens are afforded an extended period of up to 18 months post-graduation to secure employment in the country. After acquiring two years of work experience, they become eligible to apply for permanent residency. Those intending to switch careers post-graduation must obtain a different visa, such as an EU Blue Card or German Skilled Worker Visa. Additionally, graduates from accredited universities or vocational schools in their home countries can seek employment in Germany if they possess two years of relevant work experience.

Germany's burgeoning job market further adds to its appeal, with over 770,000 open positions recorded across various fields as of December 2024. The top 20 most sought-after job positions in the country encompass vacancies in horticulture, woodwork, metalworking, and other technical domains. Conversely, professions commanding the highest salaries in Germany include healthcare workers, pilots, sales managers, and legal professionals. These developments position Germany as an increasingly attractive destination for international students and skilled workers alike.



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