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Germany to allow international students work for 9 months prior to studies, other changes 



Germany recently enacted the second part of its new skilled worker law, which introduces fresh regulations such as allowing international students with student visas to work 9 months prior to their studies. 

Nairmetrics learnt that the country recently put into effect this second segment of its revamped skilled worker law, following the initial enactment in November 2023. 

The government aims to attract skilled workers from various industries and is doing so through its international student visa route by relaxing regulations. 

Recommended reading: Germany announces residents can apply for citizenship

Here are some of the changes to be aware of: 

  • Work opportunities before the start of studies 

 Non-EU citizens can apply for the visa for study applications, allowing a stay of up to nine months while preparing a university application. During this period, applicants can undertake language courses, gather necessary documents, and acclimate to the country. 

Crucially, prospective students from developing countries can now work up to 20 hours per week during these nine months to support themselves financially. 

These changes benefit international students, including those who are yet to commence their careers, stand to benefit from the new regulations. 

The new regulations facilitate the integration of work and study in Germany at all stages of higher education, even before admission. 

  • Apprenticeships for non-EU nationals 

 Similar to university applicants, third-country nationals interested in apprenticeships in Germany can now work while searching for opportunities. 

They are permitted to stay for nine months, provided they possess B1-level German proficiency and are below 35 years of age. During this period, they can engage in part-time work and continue working for 20 hours per week alongside their training once they secure an apprenticeship. 

  • Increased work hours for international students 

 Under the new regulations, international students in Germany can now work more hours to support themselves financially. The permitted time has been extended from 120 to 140 full days in any calendar year, equivalent to 20 hours per week, or 280 half days per calendar year. 


  • Extended post-study stay 

 Graduates of German universities are now allowed an 18-month stay post-graduation for job hunting, with the option to apply for permanent residence after two years of employment. 

As these rules remain unchanged, graduates seeking a career change now have an alternative visa pathway through the EU Blue Card or German Skilled Worker Visa. 

Also, applicants with a degree or vocational qualification recognized by Germany can apply if they have two years of relevant work experience, even if it’s not in the same field or industry as their qualification. 

Recommended reading: Germany announces fully-funded tuition for UG, PG studies for international students

In addition, the EU Blue Card has been made more and more accessible to professionals with university degrees lately.

According to, the employment fields which makes one eligible for a German Blue Card are those which requires a university degree. If you are highly qualified in your field, then you are eligible for a German Blue Card.


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