Germany Job Seeker Visa: New Rules in 2021

Job Seeker Visa is a visa for a long stay in Germany (6 months) with the aim to find a job. This visa has become quite a popular way to come to Germany in the last years. The introduction of new rules and changes in the immigration law made this visa much more accessible for potential foreign workers.

The changes in a Job Seeker Visa and introduction of new rules (German Skilled Immigration Act) came into force on March 2, making it easier for new categories of skilled non-EU nationals with vocational or non-academic training to come and work in Germany.

In this post, we describe all changes which were made to the rules for Germany Job Seeker Visa and how you can benefit from them. Personally, I am convinced that coming on Job seeker visa is much more effective than applying from abroad if you are looking for a job in Germany.

What Has Changed in Job Seeker Visa?

Changes were made in many different aspects of the Job Seeker Visa and in the Immigration law of the country in general. Overall they are very positive for foreign nationals, the German labor market is more accessible now.

Therefore, the changes were also made to increase the numbers of the workforce in Germany, as many positions remain vacant due to a lack of skills and workers, and so the government desires to do something about it as well.


Firstly, a broader category of people is eligible to apply for a Job Seeker Visa. Prior to this only candidates with a higher degree could access this program, now people with vocation skills (completed vocational education) can also apply and receive the visa.

The New German Law on the Immigration of Skilled non-EU nationals says that qualified professionals can apply for JSV (Job Seeker Visa), it defines qualified professionals as persons with either:

  • a tertiary education degree, or
  • a vocational training qualification, a training that lasted for a minimum of two years

Candidates who wish to work in Germany must first have their foreign qualification recognized by the relevant authority in Germany.

Work Permission

Another change is that now JSV holders are allowed to work during their stay in Germany. The maximum amount of hours that can be dedicated to the job is 10 per week. These 10 hours can be used for a regular part-time job or as a probation period in the company.

The job can also be unrelated to your qualifications unless it doesn’t require any special skills and certificates. You can take occasional jobs until the moment you receive an offer for full-time employment accordingly to the qualifications. After that, the Job Seeker Visa can be converted into a working residence permit within Germany.

Here is all information in summary:

  • you can engage in an occupation related to your profession that is not necessarily your field of expertise
  • you can also work in jobs wor which a tertiary education degree is not compulsory (qualified professionals with academic degrees only)
  • you can work in other professions which are related to your qualification, for which a vocational, non-academic qualification is usually required

Another change was made in the allowed professions which can be occupied by the foreigners. Before one can get a job in an occupation with a gap of skilled Germans or EU nationals.

Now foreign candidates can undertake employment in all occupations. This change is applicable for qualified professionals with vocational qualifications, i.e. non-academic training, there are no restrictions for people with a high degree.

Relaxed Rules and Procedures

With the new rules, the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für die Arbeit) will not carry out priority checks whether a specific job can be filled by an applicant from Germany or the EU citizen (as I mentioned before).

Now the main requirement to get a working permit is to have a work contract. The agency will only verify employment conditions.

Moreover, the new rules expand the fields of employment for foreign workers, permitting them to work in an occupation related to their profession that is not necessarily their field of study. This applies for both highly qualified professionals as well as holders of vocational skills.

Read more about German Job Seeker Visa and how to get it in 2021.

Opportunity for Training and Studies

Now non-EU students younger than 25, with a B2 level of German language knowledge and the ability to financially support themselves, can seek a training place with Job Seeker Visa in Germany due to the new rules.

However, there are some criteria they need to fulfil:

  • to have a school-leaving diploma from a German school abroad or a school leaving certificate which grants access to higher education
  • to have the ability to support oneself financially – around 600-700 EUR per month

After the candidate has found a training place, she/he can apply for a residence permit within Germany. Keep in mind that most apprenticeships in Germany start in August, September, or October. Therefore, you should arrive to Germany in these 6 months prior to the start or even earlier.

With a residence permit for vocational training, a foreigner can also attend a German language course, either general or occupation-related.

You Can Come to Germany for Training and Skill Development

Candidates who need to get their qualification recognized in Germany and consequently complete additional courses/pass exams can come to Germany and stay here for up to 18 months. This visa will be granted to someone who doesn’t pass a recognition procedure and needs to gain more credits in Germany.

Unfortunately, it often happens with medical diplomas from developing non-EU countries, due to the significant difference in education.

The main requirement for this visa is that you have at least A2 German language skills, the certificate must be according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Goethe, TestDaf, telc, etc.)

The visa is extendable for another 6 months and gives you the possibility to apply for a residence permit for training, study or work, by the end of its validity.

What Is Job Seeker Visa?

Job Seeker visa a perfect opportunity for non-EU citizens to come to Germany and search for a job. I admit, it’s much easier to find a job when a candidate is already in the country as he/she will apply from abroad.

With this visa, foreign candidates can stay in the country for up to 6 months and search for a job. Although not all people can afford 6 months of “vacation” in Germany.

You need to have around 5,500 EUR on the banking account when applying for a visa. In Germany, you will be able to work up to 10 hours per week so you can cover at least some of your expenses.

How to Get a Job on Job Seeker Visa?

Before coming to Germany and spending money here, applicants must have a good understanding of their chances of getting a job here. Do your research, start applying already from the country of the residence.

Best chances to receive a job in Germany with a high degree can be found in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based (STEM) professions. These professions include above all:

  • Electrical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Data Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Doctors
  • Computer Programmer
  • Web Developer
  • Statistician
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Physicist
  • Medical Scientist
  • Data Scientist
  • Life Scientist
  • Geoscientist

For people with vocational qualifications areas like medicine, senior care, manufacturing, hospitality, and gastronomy workers offer the best opportunities.

Almost all jobs in Germany could be found on online job boards (Jobbörsen), or on company’s websites under careers. If the company’s language is German, job postings will be described in German, if English accordingly in English.

Most popular websites for all types of jobs: 

Other helpful resources:

Where to find English speaking jobs in Germany?

After you have found a desirable job you can apply for a residence permit. There are two permits available for you: EU Blue Card and employment residence permit (Germany Employment Visa).

In order to apply for the EU Blue Card, your gross annual salary should be more than 44,304 EUR for STEM professionals and 56,800 EUR for all others (2021).

Wondering how much is the average salary for your profession? Check the – the best German resources which provide information about all salaries in the country. You can add filters like location, experience, skills, age, size of the company, and others to see the most accurate numbers!

How To Apply for Job Seeker Visa?

So you are determined that Job Seeker Visa is way to Germany in your case? Then the next step is to submit an application! Firstly prove once again that you fulfill the criteria.

  1. have proof of academic (degree) or vocational training 
  2. qualifications must be recognized in Germany and be equivalent to a German degree or certificate
  3. applicants with vocational training must provide proof of the German language skills (min. level B1)

Found yourself fulfilling the criteria? Great, check the entire list of requirements and documents you will need for an application in the nearest German embassy.

  • Bachelor’s Degree diploma from a recognized university or vocational qualification certificate (min. duration of 2 years)
  • Sufficient funds on your banking account

*853 EUR per month or 5,118 EUR in total for academics and 600-700 EUR per months or 3,600-4,200 EUR for vocational specialists

  • German language certificate level B1 for candidates without a degree
  • A valid passport (issued in the last 10 years and valid for at least 12 months after your scheduled return)
  • A copy of your passport
  • 3 biometric passport photos
  • A cover letter explaining the purpose of your visit, how you want to find employment, and your alternative career plans if you can’t find a Job
  • Certificates of previous professional experience if available
  • Detailed CV
  • Proof of accommodations in Germany for the entire stay
  • Proof of personal status in your home country, such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, and others
  • Proof health insurance
  • 75 EUR or 80 EUR for the visa fee

University degree: 

A candidate must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree which is recognized in Germany. Therefore, you have to get recognition before the visa application. This can be done through Anabin database or office for foreign education – ZAB.

If your degree certificate does not provide information on your course of study, additional documents such as transcripts are required. Bring your original diploma and copy for the visa application. 

Vocational training certificate: A candidate without a high degree must prove a completed vocational training with the duration of at least 2 years. It also has to be recognized in Germany. Apply for recognition prior to visa application via ZAB.

German language certificate: *only applies to candidates with vocational training! You should prove at least a level B1 of German language proficiency. This can be made by providing one of the several language certificates: Goethe, Telc, TestDAF,  DSH.

Proof of sufficient financial means:

You must have enough funds for the entire 6 months in Germany. Although Job seeker visa holders are allowed to work 10 hours per week it is not enough to sustain them. 

The proof can be made in different ways:

  1. Bank statement
  2. “Verpflichtungserklärung” – Letter of commitment/declaration by a sponsor living in Germany
  3. Blocked bank account

Processing time for Germany Job Seeker visa is 4 to 6 weeks but it can take as long as 12 weeks.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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