Access to German job market

Making a general statement to who, when and what type of work, somebody is allowed to do is not easy. Under the link „Arbeitsmarktzugang für Flüchtlinge“ (Access to the job marked for refugees), on page 56 you can find which status leads to which authorization. Generally speaking one can say that:

It is important for refugees to gain access to the job market as quickly as possible, not only in order to be integrated but also to be able to obtain the satisfaction of being capable to sustain one’s own livelihood as soon as possible. It is relatively easy to absolve a “Praktikum” (internship or work experience) to get to know a job, without earning any money or to start an” Ausbildung” (apprenticeship). A paid employment can only be started after three months, in as far a permission has been obtained. Before receiving the permission, it will be checked if this position cannot be staffed with an EU citizen.  Technically this process is named “Vorrangprüfung” (priority check). If somebody is already 15 months or longer in Schneverdingen, the employment has to be approved also; however, there will be no more priority checks for finding out if an EU citizen is to be favored.

It depends on the respective staying permit title, which occupation can be performed. You will find more information about the different titles and possibilities, quite well explained under:  

Fragen und Antworten zum Aufenthaltsstatus und zum Zugang zur Berufsausbildung.pdf
(Questions and answers about the staying status and access to professional education).


Since a change concerning the law, last summer, refugees do not need the permission of the “Bundesagentur für Arbeit” (Federal Agency for work), in order to start a “Praktikum”. We differentiate different types of “Praktika”:

Mandatory internship: They will be carried out, because of school or high school statute regulation or in order to help to have a professional degree from one’s home country approved.

Internship for professional orientation: If there exists no professional apprenticeship or a reorientation should take place, or if the absolved apprenticeship has not been approved and another one should follow up.

Refugees with a staying permit can start a “Praktikum” without any limitation. Tolerated people and asylum seekers can start a ”Praktikum” for professional orientation with the authorization of the “Ausländerbehörde” (aliens administration).

On top of the above mentioned types of “Praktika” there is a program named “Perspektiven für Flüchtlinge”(PerfF) (Perspectives for refugees). The aim of this program, which is paid for, by the Federal Agency for work or the job center, is to prepare refugees for an employment subject to social insurance. This means that the participants will receive information about the job market and will receive support with their job applications activities. There will also be several weeks of “Praktikum” during this 12 week program.

When and which conditions will apply, you can read here in the manual of the Deutsche IHK (German chamber of commerce).

If a company wants to offer a “Praktikum”, it is quite easy. The City of Schneverdingen has formulated an internship contract, which can be seen here: Praktikumsvertrag.pdf    

 Do you have any questions about this subject, or would like to offer an internship or something similar? Please contact the Koordinierungsstelle Schneverdingen.


Also for apprenticeships it is important what staying status the applicant has. Refugees with a staying permit can start an apprenticeship in an enterprise or a professional school apprenticeship without limitations. A short time ago, the planning reliability was dependent on the validity of staying permit. In the new Asylum regulation 2 the planning reliability is amplified, which means: Migrants should be able to finish their apprenticeship, and be allowed to work 2 years in German independently of their status. There is no maximum age for entering.        

Approval of foreign education

In most professions it is necessary letting in foreign countries acquired qualifications and completions be acknowledged in order to examine an equivalence. It is also necessary letting existing school education, study and/or other educations be acknowledged. For so called limited professions a foreign recognition is not necessary but is recommended. Involved are dual education programs and academically professions.

By a recognition it is easier for the refugees to present their qualification to potential co workers. Appropriate offices are examining the contains of their presented qualifications within three months and decide after that if these are comparable with German qualifications.

Usually the examination of completion takes place based on report card analysis. Study completions absolved in foreign countries will be tested by the central office for foreign education.

Beside the analysis of the school report card there will also be an analysis of the qualification. It will seize if it is impossible by escape circumstances to present accordingly report cards. In this case missing proofs in some profession fields can be replaced after a special equivalence progress. Here work examples, professional presentations and technical interviews can be required. In some cases, external tests can be conducted by the accordingly chamber for which courses and seminars can be arranged.

More information to this topic are available at the respective “Industrie- und Handelskammern” and on:

In addition to that we have the support program IQ: Integration by qualification which has its own outpatient clinics.

Every immigrant that comes to Germany has a legal claim on a free check on the equivalence of the job he or she did in his home country. The German agency for work or the jobcentre is covering these costs.

Another opportunity is joining in a so called adjustment course for some job branches as long as those refugees are subjected to the social welfare system. Is the employment relationship subjected to the social welfare system the refugees can get released of his job for the purpose of training while in this case the wage costs will be subsided by the Arbeitsagentur and the work permission will be expanded for this period.