Foreign nationals other than European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals can work in Germany if they have a residence permit which explicitly authorizes them to do so. Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Canadian, South Korean, New Zealand and US citizens may obtain such a residence permit from the relevant Aliens authority once they have arrived in Germany. It is important to note, however, that they may not commence their intended employment until they received the permit. All other foreign nationals must apply for a work visa before coming to Germany.
Foreigners’ access to the labour market is limited by German law. In principle, access is permitted for certain professions only and normally requires the approval of the employment authorities. However, there are numerous exceptions to this general principle, and in recent years various legislative measures have further liberalised access to the German labour market.
For further information on this topic, please contact the information centre of the International Placement Services (ZAV) at the Federal Employment Agency (firstname.lastname@example.org).
General information such as on recognition of qualifications, employability in Germany or questions relating to social security legislation is available on the websites of Make it in Germany, of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees as well as on the EURES (European Employment Services). Further information is also available from the Federal Foreign Office help desk.