Working in Thuringia

Can my profession be recognised?

Some professions, so-called regulated professions, need to be recognised in Germany. These include professions in healthcare (e.g. doctors, nurses), social work and education (e.g. teachers).

You can apply for recognition of your professional qualifications while you are still in your home country. Most of the time, you will need certified copies of your diplomas or certifications as well as their German translation produced by a translator who is sworn or publicly appointed in Germany or abroad.  The Thuringian State Medical Chamber can advise you on how to become a licensed doctor.

You can find free advice on the recognition of qualifications at the counselling centres of the "Integration through Qualification (IQ)" funding programme in Thuringia. You can find more and detailed information on the website www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de.

Who can help me find a job?

If you need help finding a job, there are different ways to find support. The local employment agencies and job centres are the main points of contact for you. First you should go to the reception of the employment agency; you will then be referred to a job advisor. They will need your personal information (i.e. information about schools and former jobs). So it is important to bring your documents (i.e. certificates, degrees) with you all the time.

There are also private employment agencies who might know which businesses need employees in your area. In contrast to the state employment agencies, those private ones are not free of charge and might cost up to EUR 2000.

Where can I search for jobs?

There are different places where you can look for jobs: You can find them for example on the internet, in newspapers, in shop windows or at your local employment agency.

The ThAFF job and applicant board lists more than 2,000 job vacancies throughout Thuringia.  You can access all the job descriptions and contacts yourself.  The job and applicant board of the German Federal Employment Agency also provides an opportunity to look for jobs.  You can also find vacancies on private job boards, company homepages and in the social media.

Additionally, job fairs provide an excellent location to research vacancies at many different companies.  Plus, they give you an opportunity to personally come in contact with potential employers and to get a first impression. The "academix Thüringen" is a career fair for university students, recent graduates and young professionals which takes place every December. And there are other regularly organised thematic career fairs.

If you are an EU national, you can contact the EURES advisers in your home country for personal and free advice before you start looking for work in Thuringia. EURES stands for "EURopean Employment Services" and promotes the mobility of the labour force in the European Economic Area.

How should I apply for jobs?

You should apply to jobs with a written application. Most of the time, the job description will inform you, if you have to send your application in by postal service, email or if you have to apply online. The application should be in German or in English.

Your application should include the following:

  1. Cover letter: With a cover letter you can give the company a first impression of yourself and your skills and explain why you are interested in and suited for the job.
  2. Cover sheet: Many applicants also use cover sheets including a professional photograph and contact details (name, telephone, address, email address) as s first information. 
  3. Curriculum vitae (CV): A CV offers a comprehensive summary about your educational and professional background as well as other skills and qualifications (including date and signature). 
  4. Certificates: Copies of your educational and professional certificates give proof of your qualifications and experiences. Additionally, you can include proof of other educational courses (e.g. language courses, qualification courses) and proof of internships.

If you apply online or via email, you might want to add all the files and create one PDF file.

If you need help with your application, you can contact the Welcome Center Thuringia (WCT). The WCT staff members check your application documents for free and can give you feedback and support you with the formalities.

What should I keep in mind during the job interview?

During the job interview you and the company both can get to know each other better. You will be asked questions about yourself, your qualifications and your interest in the offered job. At the end of the interview, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

During the interview you should keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Be well prepared: A sound preparation increases your chances to get the job. That also means you should think of answers to possible questions beforehand.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing: A job interview always takes place in a formal environment. Therefore, you should dress according to your desired profession. 
  3. Silence your mobile or cell phone. 
  4. Be on time: You should be at the company’s reception ten minutes before your scheduled interview. Lack of punctuality will most likely disqualify you for the job position.
  5. Act appropriately: Your interviewer will not only listen to what you have to say. He or she will also observe how you behave. Greet all the interviewers with a hand shake. Sit upright and look directly at your interviewers. Express your appreciation at the end of the interview and say good bye by shaking your interviewers hands once more.
What happens after I get a job offer?

After you receive the employers confirmation for the job, you will have to sign an employment contract. You should receive a written contract signed by the employer which should include the following:

  • Name and address: Of both you and your employer.
  • Commencement of the contract: Your first day at work. 
  • Time limit: At the start of a career you might get a temporary contract for three, six, twelve or 24 months.
  • Probationary period: The contract might also specify a probationary period of three to six months to test your abilities. During this period, the contract can be terminated more easily.
  • Place of work: Location(s) of the company where you will work.
  • Work details: Your position in the company and details about your tasks.
  • Salary/wage: The salary or wage you are paid as well as other monetary benefits.
  • Working hours: Time of work per day, week or month (usually eight hours/day, plus breaks) as well as period during which you may work (e.g. 9 am till 5 pm).
  • Paid leave/vacation: During one calendar year you will receive at least 20 days (if you work from Monday till Friday) or 24 days of paid leave (if you work from Monday till Saturday). You will have to take at least twelve consecutive days of leave per year. 
  • Period of notice: If you or your employer wants to terminate the contract, you and they both must respect the period of notice. It is important that you immediately contact your job advisor if you terminate a job or if you have been given notice.
Are there taxes on labour?

The local tax office requires you to pay taxes on any kind of income including salaries and wages. Those taxes are used to pay for schools, kindergartens, streets, state institutions as well as for the police, the fire department and so on – all of which are available to all citizens.

The amount of tax you pay depends on your gross salary, your family relationship etc.  Your local tax office can tell you how much taxes you have to pay and to which tax category you belong.

Once you start to work, you will receive a document including your tax identification number. You will have to give this number to your employer. It will enable your employer to see for example which tax category you belong to or if you have a tax-free allowance for children. This document is for you to keep.

How can I combine family and working life?

Thuringia is a very family friendly place to live: Working life and family can easily be combined. Many companies offer flexible working hours, help arrange day care which is close to the place of work and sometimes even give financial benefits. Plus, Thuringia has many and well-equipped day care centres: 98 per cent of children aged three to six are cared for in one of those facilities.

What happens if I get pregnant?

The German law protects pregnant women and young parents from loosing their job. Employers have to give women six weeks of maternity leave before as well as eight weeks of maternity leave after the birth of their child. During this time women receive maternity benefits from the German state to care for themselves.

If you want to look after your newborn child yourself, you can apply for up to two years of parental leave. During this time, too, you will receive benefits from the state.

What is the Service Centre for the Reconciliation of Career and Family?

The Service Centre for the Reconciliation of Career and Family (TSBF) is part of the Thuringian Agency for Skilled Personnel Marketing (ThAFF). The centre informs and supports employees and companies about all questions concerning the combination of career and family, and especially concerning child care and caring for relatives. It offers a great amount of information, for example a regional overview of possible kindergartens and day care centres.

What if my employer requires no documents?

If your employer wants to pay you in cash and requires no social insurance and tax documents, you should contact your job advisor immediately. Illegal employment is subject to strict controls by the police in Germany - still, there are illegal employments that the state has no knowledge of.

It is an offence to be illegal employed and may lead to a heavy fine or even to imprisonment for you and your employer. Additionally, you may loose your residence permit and you are not insured in case of an accident.
You should therefore refuse illegal employment!