Are you interested in working in and around Hildesheim or have you already signed an employment contract and would like to settle down in our region? There are always a lot of general but also very specific questions when you start afresh anywhere:

  • How do I find a house or flat?
  • What kind of schools are available for my children?
  • Can I continue to play American Football in my new home town?
  • Can I go and watch good handball matches at the weekend?
  • How about the food that is on offer…?

Our “little” big city with its districts is a place where life is good. Everything is close by; people are friendly as well as open and the standard of living is high.

If you would like to be successful professionally and/or privately, we are here to provide free advice and support. You are welcome to use the Welcome Center Region Hildesheim as your first point of contact for any subject and question.

We provide information material, personal support and – if necessary – direct you to the appropriate local experts so that you can easily find your way around the city and the county of Hildesheim.

Access to the German job market for professionals and their relatives

Before entering Germany from abroad

As a citizen of an EU-country, a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you can move around freely. That means that you can enter Germany at any time and stay here. You automatically have a title of residency as well as a work permit.

For a stay of up to three month you only need a valid ID-Card or Passport, that is all. A Visa is not required.

You can stay in Germany for more than three months:

  • If you are self-employed
  • If you are employed
  • If you are in training or studying at university
  • or if you are looking for a job.

If you are not employed, if you do not study and if you are not in training you have to have sufficient money to live on and you have to have health insurance. EU-citizens lawfully staying in Germany for more than five years can apply to have the right of permanent residence granted to them immediately.

With the new electronic ID-Card – which was introduced on November 1 of 2019 – it is possible to contact and deal with the administration office digitally. This applies to EUCitizens as well as German-Citizens.

With a Visa

To enter Germany from a third country you always need a Visa. You need to apply for a Visa at the German diplomatic mission (the embassy or the consulate) in your home country. With this Visa you can enter Germany. If you want to stay in Germany for longer than stated in your Visa, you have to apply for a residence permit at the local immigration office in good time after entering Germany.

With an EU Blue Card

To get an EU Blue Card you need a completed university degree. If the degree was gained abroad it has to be recognised in Germany or has to be comparable to a German university degree. On top of that, there has to be a definite job offer or a signed employment contract and also a certain annual income before tax which is paid by the employer. In this case you also have to apply for a Visa for the purpose of employment at the German mission abroad (embassy or consulate) to be able to enter Germany. Then you have to apply for an EU Blue Card at the local immigration office.

If you already have an EU Blue Card from another EU-Country for more than 18 months, you can apply for a German EU Blue Card. You have to apply for this EU Blue Card within a month after entering Germany at the local immigration office.

Flyer „EU Blue Card“

First point of contact to find a job from abroad is the Central Placement Office or ZAV – Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).
First point of contact to find a job from abroad is the Federal Employment Agency.
To register as a jobseeker you need the following documents:

  • Your proof of Residence
  • Your ID-card or passport
  • Your CV, if possible, in the German language

You can also register online and search the Jobbörse (job exchange) of the Federal Employment Agency for a suitable job.

Family reunion

Any family member that accompany or join you have the right to free movement even if they are not coming from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. This applies to husbands, wives or registered partners and children up to the age of 21 years old. Older children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents can join you on your way to Germany if you pay for their living costs.

Depending on the nationality it is possible that your family members need a Visa to stay in the EU for more than three months. For further information click on the link below:

Checklist „First Steps in Germany“

Particulars of the German job market

German companies have many different types of working hours. These working hours are laid down by law. The employer has to comply with the Working Hours Act. To work for more than eight hours a day is not allowed. But under certain conditions the employer can extend working hours to ten hours a day. By law an employee is only allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours a week and that for a maximum of 48 weeks a year. Because of the law an employee has the right to four weeks holiday per year.

Employees must take their rest and break times. Employers have to make sure that their employees take these rest and break times.

Break times are laid down by law as follows:

If you work for more than six hours a day you have to take a break of 30 minutes.
If you work for more than nine hours a day you have to take a break of 45 minutes. But an employee is not allowed to work for more than six hours at a time without a break.

Rest times are laid down by law as follows:

Free time between two work shifts is called rest time. The minimum rest time after the daily working hours is eleven hours (also see § 5 Abs. 1 ArbZG).

On Sundays and public holidays work is usually not allowed but sometimes employees are allowed to work and will get days off for it at another time. (also see §§ 9 ff. ArbZG)

Because of digitalisation and „Work-Life-Balance“ new types of working hours are established. When you have a job interview, please ask your potential employer if and which types of working hours the company has.

In Germany sickness benefit also known as continued remuneration is regulated by the Continued Remuneration Act, EFZG for short, since 1994.
All employees and trainees are entitled to benefits under the Continued Remuneration Act (§ 4 Abs. 4 EntgFG) from the fifth week of them starting work. The benefit is paid for a period of up to six weeks. If the calculation base of the benefit which has to be paid in case of illness is set by a labour agreement the continued pay can differ from the Continued Remuneration Act.

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications and academic degrees

Generally, the professional and academic qualifications you got abroad can be recognised or can be checked to see if they are equivalent to German qualifications. We are happy to support you during the acknowledgement process. There are different help desks for
example the Chamber of Commerce Hannover – office Hildesheim which works together with IQ Network (Integration through Qualification). Or the anabin-data base which provides information on how foreign school and university certificates are evaluated to allow the qualification(s) to be compared to German qualifications and to award the right grade.
The acknowledgment splits qualifications into qualification of regulated and non-regulated professions.

Application process in Germany

In Germany the following documents make up a job application:

  • a covering letter
  • a CV
  • one or more references or “Letters of Recommendation”
    • this also includes certificates of internship
  • all professional qualifications and academic degrees (graduate degrees) you have
  • all certificates of any other qualification you haven

In the covering letter you can tell why you want to work in the profession for which you are applying. If you have already worked in this profession, you should give an example of a job or project you have done well. You should also say why you want to work with the company you are sending the application to. It is always a good idea to point out your individual strengths. Try to match your strengths to the job you are applying for.

The covering letter should follow Norm DIN 5008xr and should not be longer than one A4 page if possible. It is important that you sign the covering letter and your CV by hand. When you apply online you should include a digital signature in your application.

You CV should have a covering page with the following information:

  • a portrait (photograph) of yourself
  • your place of birth
  • your date of birth
  • your civil status (say if you are single, married, etc.)
  • the title of the post you are applying for (“Application for the post of …”)

Enter your name, address and contact details in the header on the next page. It is best to
follow the order described below:

  • Work experience (starting with your last employer) including the name of the employer, the place of the company and the position of employment and a brief description of your duties
  • Your studies/professional training including the date you started, and you finished your studies or your training. Please also include the final grades of the highest completed level of education you have achieved
  • The internships you have completed
  • The continuous training and development measures you have completed
  • The IT-Skills you have
  • All the Languages you speak
  • Any periods of time you have spent abroad
  • Any hobbies you have and/or voluntary work you do, or you have done
  • Place, date and your handwritten signature

Certificates, especially job references, are very important in Germany. That is why you should list all your certificates in the same order you have listed your education and employment in your CV (the newest first and the oldest last). All the certificates you have gained abroad should be translated into German and be included in the application along with a certified
copy of the document.

If your application was successful you will be invited for a personal interview. It is important to look at the company in detail and research it well before the interview. Look for information on the company’s website. Have a look if there are any pictures of employees and find out what kind of dress code is in place. You should not go to an interview “overdressed” or “underdressed”.
Print out a full set of your application documents, prepare them in the same way as the documents you sent and take them to the interview with you. Be honest, even when somebody asks critical questions. You should also be able to identify yourself, so it is best to take your ID-Card or Passport along.

Finances: Tax classes, tax return & bank account

Tax classes

Every employee in Germany has to pay income tax. Income tax is usually taken from the gross wage or salary of an employee. The employer forwards the tax to the Tax Office. Along with the income tax the solidarity surcharge and church tax are send to the Tax Office by the employer.

The amount of income tax you have to pay depends on your income tax class. This income tax class depends on your civil status:

Income tax class I

  • Is for single persons
  • Is for married persons/partners, whose husband, wife/partner do not have to pay the full amount of tax.
  • Is for married persons/partners who are permanently separated, also widowed persons (from the second year after the death of their husband, wife/partner).

If there are children, the child allowance can be entered in the so-called electronic income tax deduction criteria if necessary.

Income tax class II

  • Is for all single parents who meet the criteria of income tax class I but are entitled to single parent relief.
  • Is for widowed persons with at least one child from the month following the month in which their husband, wife or partner died. But in this case the so-called widow splitting applies. Widow splitting means that the lower tax rate of the joint taxation also applies in the year after the death of the husband, wife or partner.

Income tax class III

  • For married persons or persons living in a registered partnership, which are notpermanently separated from their husband, wife or life partner and who have not chosen tax class IV.
  • If the husband, wife or life partner is also employed then he or she gets tax class V. For widowed persons in the year in which the husband, wife or partner died and in the following year. The person who died must have had to pay full income tax at the time he or she died. The husband, wife or life partner has to still live with de person who died at the time he or she died.
Income tax class IV

  • For married/partnered employees if both partners have to pay full tax and are living together.
  • Husbands, wives or life partners can change their tax class once a year if both partners are employed.
  • Both (husband, wife, partner) should earn about the same amount of money.

Income tax class IV-Factor

  • Since 2010, the new art. 39f allows married people to choose tax class IV with a factor. In this tax class the tax payment is divided fairly between husband, wife or partner during the tax year. Both husband, wife or partner receive a basic allowance and if they have children perhaps a child allowance. The so-called spouse splitting reduces tax and is also included. The factor is calculated individually for every married couple by the Tax Office. Tax class IV/IV-factor is best for all married couples where both husband, wife or partner are employed. The income tax that is set comes very close to the final income tax, so that after a tax return there is only small additional amount to be paid by you or to be paid back to you by the Tax Office.

Income tax class V

  • Is for husbands, wives or partners where the husband, wife or partner has tax class III.
  • Is for husbands, wives or partners if the difference in pay for husbands, wives or partners is very large.

Income tax class VI

  • Is for employees that have a second or another job.
  • In this income tax class the most tax has to be paid and no allowances are included apart from the old-age relief. Since the income of the first employment is not known, in this tax class you have to pay a lot more tax than in the other tax classes.

More information is available at Tax Office Hildesheim.

Church Tax in Germany is calculated at a certain percentage of the income tax. In Lower Saxony the rate for church tax is 9% of the income tax. Like the income tax, this tax is also paid by the employer to the Tax Office and the Tax Office then passes it on to the churches.

In Germany church tax has to be paid when you belong to a religious community that is recognised as a public body.

If you are not a member of any church, you do not have to pay church tax. Depending on the federal state you are living in you have to state that you want to leave the church in person at the Registry Office or Local Court.

Since 1995 the solidarity surcharge has to be paid to cover the costs of the German unification. The rate of solidarity surcharge was set at 5.5% of the income and corporate tax in 1998. Like the church tax, the employer pays the amount directly to the Tax Office.

It is planned to abolish the solidarity surcharge for most of the population. More details will be announced by the lawmakers.

The tax return is used by the Tax Office to calculate the tax base for individual persons and companies. Art 149 of the German Tax Code describes who has to file a tax return. According to the Income Tax Act a tax return has to be filed every year.
  • The tax return has to be filed until the end of the seventh months after the end of the calendar year in which the income tax was paid. This means that a tax return has to be filed until July 31 of the following year.
  • You can prepare the tax return by yourself or by using the online-program ELSTER.
    You can also go to a tax advisor who will prepare the tax return for you for a fee.
If you are working in Germany, you need a bank account. You can open a bank account with any bank in Germany.

If you are an EU-Citizen, you don’t have to open a new bank account. You can use the bank account you already have. It is best to ask your bank what kind of fees you have to pay for direct debits and withdrawals at a cash point for example. It may be cheaper to open a new bank account in Germany.


To integrate yourself well in your new home country, it is important to learn the German language and the German customs. That is why the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) which means the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees offers integration courses. An integrations course is made up of a language course and an orientation course. You can find out about the stages of the course and what is taught on the website of the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees as well as a further information in English, that shows the setup and
purpose of the course.

The Adult Education Centre Hil offers German language courses . Of course there are more Language school in the city and county of Hildesheim which you can also contact.

If you already have some knowledge of the German language, there is a placement test to find the right language course for you. Students will be divided into groups according to their level of knowledge.

Language levels are set with the help of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) as follows:

A1 – beginner
A2 – basic user
B1 – advanced user
B2 – independent user
C1 – proficient user
C2 – near-native speaker

In addition, there are also job-related language courses. These are especially useful if your German language skills are so good that you could already start work.

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