Work and Study: Clear rules for the employment of international students
Even during their studies, international students can also acquire practical know-how, for example by being employed as a student assistant alongside their studies. There are clear rules for this case: Students from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland may, like German students, work up to 20 hours per week during the lecture period. During the semester break, they can work without restrictions. Students from so-called third countries who have a residence permit for the purpose of studying pursuant to §16 AufenthG (German Residence Act) may take up employment for 120 full or 240 half days per year without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.
Self-employment is also possible for international students during their studies. However, this requires the approval of the relevant Foreigners Authority. The authorities must check, among other things, whether the self-employed activity does not impede or delay the achievement of the study objective and whether it does not result in a change of the purpose of residence because the activity takes up a greater amount of time than the studies.
In addition, international students from third countries have further options pursuant to § 16b (4) AufenthG (German Residence Act) - even if they have not yet completed their studies:
- Instead of studying, international students can switch to qualified vocational training if they wish to discontinue their studies before graduation. Before taking up vocational training, they must apply for the corresponding residence permit pursuant to § 16a AufenthG (German Residence Act) at the relevant Foreigners Authority.
- International students can already take up full-time employment before completing their studies if the knowledge and skills they have acquired so far enable them to do so. This is the case, for example, for students who are about to drop out of their studies and are looking for new perspectives in Germany. In such cases, the purpose of residence can be changed if there is a concrete job offer. Upon application, the skilled worker is granted either a residence permit to perform a qualified profession or a residence permit for other employment purposes under § 19c (2).