Should international students live on in Germany after their studies?

International Students Living in Germany
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Perhaps you’re an international students who has just completed your studies and are weighing your options, or you’re someone who is on the verge of doing so. Whatever stage you might be in, deciding what to do next can be challenging. Especially if you don’t know what exactly to do and if you’re up to the process.

A part of you might know what you already want, but another part might be wondering if you’re doing what’s best for you. For instance, you might be considering returning to your home country to find employment or staying back in Germany to find work and live. 

Before you make the decision, here are some factors to consider.

  1. It’s very possible

Yes, that’s right. Before deciding if you ‘should’ continue to live in Germany after your studies, it needs to be settled with finality in your heart that you actually ‘can’. This is because there’s a German law supporting this. 

If you do go back to your home county for a short while and decide to come back and stay in Germany, you can always apply for a German Job seeker visa.

After graduation, an international student not from the EU or EEA countries can apply for an extension of their resident permit for 18 months to enable them to seek job opportunities. So yes, you can stay back if you choose to.

  1. Employment opportunities

Employment opportunities abound in Germany. Despite the effect of the pandemic that has made unemployment rates soar across the world and even in European countries, Germany’s job market continues to thrive. 

In some areas, there are more shortages than others, and so the chances of being employed are higher. There are both English Speaking jobs (especially if you’re in the tech area or the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) area. 

As someone who has a German education, you have an edge because German qualifications are of a high standard and recognized globally. So if you do decide to stay back, you can be sure of getting employment in time.

In fact, a recent study showed that 69.2 percent of international students said they would prefer to stay back in Germany after completing their studies to find a job, while only 16.5 percent opted to go back immediately after their degrees were completed. This is particularly useful for international students in countries with high unemployment rates or unfavourable working conditions.

If you want to increase your chances of landing a job faster, you can take time to perfect your German. Learning the German language cannot be overemphasized if you desire to settle in Germany. Knowing the language is even part of the requirement for obtaining a settlement permit. Although, a person must have lived up to five years or more to qualify for a settlement permit. 

You can also increase your employment chances by ensuring that your course of study is as employable as possible. If you’re already in the middle of your study, you can learn an additional vocational skill that’s in high demand. Also, make sure you check regularly at your university for local job fairs. Some of the best employment opportunities can be gotten from job fairs.

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  1. Flexible work-life balance

This is another thing Germans enjoy that any international student who chooses to stay back will also enjoy. The work-life balance is great. You can rest, recreate and relax as you want without shunning or neglecting your work. Germans have a strong work ethic so don’t imagine you’ll be twiddling your thumbs. On the contrary, Germans are hard workers. However, work is flexible and allows time for many other social and familial activities as well.

  1. Culture

Germany is such a beautiful place brimming with culture. Apart from the Oktoberfest festival which holds in Munich, there are many other beautiful sights to behold in Germany. There are also many fun things to do and not to mention that there is great beer too!

 Perhaps, you were the nerdy type throughout your degree and never got to see these exciting places, then there’s no reason to rush back after completing your studies. Take some time to enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the German people. 

Wouldn’t be a shame to come back from Germany and never seen the Berlin wall?

  1. Wages

This is another very important factor to consider when deciding to stay back in Germany after your studies. While the cost of living in Germany is quite low, it’s important to understand that German residents usually pay high taxes. Most systems and infrastructure are publicly run hence the need for high taxes. For instance, the majority of residents in Germany have public health insurance. 

Germany’s health care sector is publicly run and public infrastructure like transportation is also very efficient. As a result, a substantial part of your wages might be going to taxes. If you have a ‘get rich quick mentality, remaining in Germany is probably not the best option for you. However, wages paid are more than enough to live by and comfortably too.

If you do decide to stay back in Germany, you need to be aware of the right process. If you want to work after your studies, you will need to apply for a German Residence Permit Card. This allows you to work for a while, if you also want to visit other European countries, you can also apply for an EU Blue card. 

If you have a German resident Permit Card, you don’t need to have an EU Blue card to work in Germany unless you want to.

If after working for a few years, you decide that you want to settle more permanently in Germany, you can then apply for a settlement permit. This will allow you to work for as long as you want. You can apply for this permit as early as 2 -3 years after getting your EU Blue card.

To apply for a residence permit or permanent settlement permit, there are certain qualifications you must meet and you can find them here 

The decision to stay in Germany or not is entirely yours to make. But with this article, we hope you are well equipped to make informed decisions and live a happier life in Germany. 


Should international students live on in Germany after their studies? (pdf)

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