Student jobs in Germany

What international students need to consider

There are many opportunities for international students in Germany to earn money while studying. For example, as a waiter, as a research/student assistant or as a tutor. However, there are certain restrictions and regulations that must be observed.

We have compiled all the general information on our page about student jobs.
In the following, we summarise what international students in particular should also bear in mind.

Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have free access to the German labour market and are practically equal to German students. However, if you work more than 20 hours per week, you have to pay certain insurance contributions (like German students).

Special legal regulations apply to students from other countries:

  • If you are from a third country, you may work 120 full days or 240 half days per calendar year. Self-employment or freelance work is only possible with the approval of the State Office for Immigration. Previously, you had to apply for this, but this requirement is to be dropped in future (as of 08/2023). You can also find initial information on your work opportunities on your residence permit or the supplementary sheet.
  • If you want to work more than the 120 or 240 days, you need the approval of the Federal Employment Agency and the Land Office for Immigration. The granting depends on the situation on the labour market.
  • There is an exception to the 120 or 240-day rule if you are working in a job that is related to your studies. You can also carry out this activity without a time limit. Here, too, pay attention to the working student privilege. You must inform the State Office for Immigration about the commencement of your work. In the course of this, it is best to clarify once again whether the State Office for Immigration sees the connection between your job and your studies as given.


If you are attending a language course or a preparatory course, you are usually only allowed to work with the approval of the Federal Employment Agency and the State Office for Immigration - and only during the semester break.

Tip: It is important to know the employment regulations for international students. Anyone who violates them can be expelled from Germany. The International Offices of the universities can help you if you have questions about the conditions.

The regional contact points of the Federal Employment Agency often have a job placement service for students. At large universities, there are often career services that you can contact. You can find online job exchanges on the websites of the universities or, for example, at stellenwerk - hochschul-jobportale.
Sometimes it's enough to look at the notice board at your university or in the advertisements in local and regional newspapers.

Research assistant/student assistant:
Some students work as academic assistants (colloquially "Hiwis") at the university.
For example, they look after the library, lead tutorials or research literature for professors.
WHK/SHK positions are a good supplement to your studies. If you are interested, you should ask the secretary's office of your own institute about vacancies and keep an eye on the university notices.

Classic student jobs off campus include waitressing, working at fairs, babysitting and courier services.

There has been a minimum wage in Germany since 2015. This has been 12 euros per hour since 1 October 2022.

In January 2024, it will rise to 12.41 euros per hour.

However, how much you earn often depends on your own (technical) knowledge, the occupational sector and the regional labour market. In cities like Munich and Hamburg, hourly wages are usually higher, but so is the cost of living.

The most important thing first: Do not terminate your employment contract prematurely if you are pregnant!

As a pregnant woman, you and your unborn child are protected by law in the workplace. Employers must ensure that your health and that of your child are not endangered. Night work, lifting heavy loads, handling dangerous chemicals, etc. are taboo. Pregnant women also have special protection against dismissal.

If employers cannot offer a suitable job, pregnant women are usually released from work and receive maternity protection pay. For the period of statutory maternity protection, maternity allowance is available as a wage replacement benefit.

Tip for international students: After the birth, parents with a visa for study purposes also have the possibility to receive family benefits (child benefit, parental allowance, advance maintenance payment) if they cannot pursue their gainful employment due to the parental leave or have an employment contract.

The situations of pregnant women or students with families are very individual. Therefore, it is best to get information from the social counselling service!
The social workers can also help you find solutions in financial emergencies.

Photo: Felix Noak / stW BERLIN
Student in a kitchen with an apron and a tablet.