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Germany Implements Changes for International Student Employment

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As of March 1 this year, more than 450,000 international students in Germany have access to a simpler employment process in the country thanks to a new law that aims to address the labour shortages in key sectors like the economy, technology, and medicine.

The second stage of the Skilled Worker Immigration Law, which came into force on March 1, 2024, expands employment opportunities for international students. 

According to a statement issued by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), international students are now allowed to work more days in a year.

Under this law, international students, including those in preparatory measures for university, are also eligible to hold a second job, Studying in Germany reports.

“The previous annual working time account of 120 full days or 240 half days will be increased to 140 full days or 280 half days. Alternatively, the new rule will allow student employees to work up to 20 hours per week,” BAMF’s statement reads.

While entry and residence permits will continue to be issued for third-country nationals seeking to study at a German university, prospective students can also engage in part-time jobs. They will be permitted to work 20 hours per week while in search of a study place.

“These recent changes are a good step towards better opportunities for international students in Germany. By increasing the number of days these students are permitted to work in a week, Germany is likely to strengthen its position as a global centre for higher education and talent attraction,” higher education expert Alma MIftari said.

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Germany is the third most popular country for international students, after the US and the UK. Over the past decade, international student enrollment in Germany grew by nearly 28 per cent. Higher education institutions in Germany are home to at least 458,210 international students.

Most of these students are Indians (42,578), Chinese (39,137), and Syrians (15,563). Turkey is another important source of international students in Germany, sending a total of 14,732 in the 2022/23 academic year.

A survey conducted by Expatrio and the Deutsche Gesellschaft Internationaler Studierender (DEGIS) at the end of 2021 found that 45 per cent of participating students did not consider another country to study besides Germany.

The study included 2,000 people from 93 countries. Of them, 17 chose the United States as their preferred destination for studies, and only 16 per cent chose Canada.

The third stage of the Skilled Worker Immigration Law is expected to come into effect on June 1, 2024, and will bring new changes, such as introducing the job search opportunity card.

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