Job Prospects and Visa What are my options after I finish my studies?

Germany’s economy is the strongest in Europe and the fourth strongest in the world.

The country is the European leader in terms of growth, employment and exports. There are enormous employment and career opportunities for skilled professionals. Germany’s youth unemployment rate and the unemployment rate for university graduates are both very low.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s, Master's or MBA degree from a German university, students have the following visa and residence options:

  1. Residence permit while looking for a job

    You can apply for an 18-month residence permit from your local foreign nationals’ registration office to look for a job that corresponds to your qualifications. During these 18 months, you may take up any kind of employment to support yourself and to fund your job search. You can apply for your residence permit as soon as you have passed your final exam
  2. Residence permit for taking up employment

    As soon as you find a job offer which corresponds to your qualifications, you can apply for a German residence permit for the next part of your stay. The German residence permit allowing you to take up employment is issued for a limited period of time in the first place. If you continue being employed and wish to have your permit extended, you will be able to do this without any problem.
  3. Settlement permit

    As early as two years after receiving your German residence permit, you can apply for a settlement permit – this permit will give you almost the same rights as German citizens and has no time limit. The only condition is that you are still employed in Germany at that point of time.

Career Opportunities for STEM and other graduates

Germany has a shortage of skilled professionals in STEM and health-related occupations and an ageing population. Both factors increase the chances for young and skilled international university graduates to find suitable employment in Germany and start and continue their careers here.

The occupations that are mostly affected by skills shortages include graduate positions in the field of supply and waste management, IT and software development/programming, STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), mechanical and automotive engineering, electrical engineering and medicine.

Graduates from other disciplines and STEM graduates can increase their career prospects by:

  • Having a good command of the German language. We recommend that you enrol in German classes during your studies. Try to speak as much German as possible with e.g. class- or flatmates.
  • Knowing the German labour market. Learn how a German CV and cover letter need to look like and what German employers are looking for. Things might work differently than in your home country.
  • Getting professional experience in internships and students jobs. Graduates with more work experience enjoy better job opportunities. This way you can also extend your professional network.


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