Working in Germany: the official website
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Unemployment

If you have yet to find a job, register with your local employment agency (Arbeitsagentur)

If you’re not taking up employment immediately upon your return to Germany, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. You will need to visit your local employment agency in person to register. If you’re not resident in Germany, you’re not subject to the requirement that you must notify the agency three months prior to the end of your employment. However, this requirement is not waived for those who’ve been abroad on secondment or working abroad whilst living in Germany.  In these cases, you can meet the notification requirement by contacting the agency over the phone, in writing, or online, or you can register immediately upon your return to Germany. Advice on open questions and placement support even before your return can be obtained from the BA's International and Specialised Services (ZAV) at ZAV.Hotline-Germany@arbeitsagentur.de or via telephone 0049-228 713 1313.

  • If you want to register yourself as jobless, you can call this number: 0049- 911 1203 1010 (without phone charges)
  • Or you can use this link
  • For additional information on registering as a jobless person, please go to the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

Proof of entitlement to unemployment benefits

If you’ve been paying into an unemployment insurance scheme in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you can transfer these entitlements to Germany. You will need to ask the competent employment agency in your host country for form PD U2. Please contact your local employment agency for further information on the portability of benefits from other countries.

Unemployment benefits

As a general rule, those unemployed in Germany are entitled to financial support only if they have previously had a job subject to social security contributions in Germany prior to registering themselves as unemployed and filing an application for unemployment benefits. This is why most people returning to Germany are not entitled to unemployment benefits. However, if you do take up employment in a job that is subject to social security contributions after returning to Germany and then become unemployed, any time you’ve spent working in the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland can count towards your entitlement in Germany. This will only be the case, however, if you’re able to furnish proof of employment for these periods. The exact rules here differ vastly between different countries, which is why you should consult the EURES website to find out what proof you can obtain and what it is you need, and to arrange a meeting with a local EURES advisor. For an overview of the various national rules, consult the European Commission’s website on “Your rights country by country”. You will also find detailed information in the leaflet "Unemployment benefit & employment abroad". Please contact your local employment agency for further information on the portability of benefits from other countries.

Information on the web

Federal Employment Agency

Federal Office of Administration

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