THE introduction of a new German legislation regarding Entry and Residence of Highly Qualified Workers this year, will make it easier for international students and academics to remain in the country after their programmes. Under this new Act passed by Bundestag (the lower house of German Parliament) on April 27, 2012, foreign students graduating from German varsities will now be allowed to stay and work in the country for up to 18 months instead of 12 months while searching for a graduate-level employment. Students will be able to work part-time for up to 120 days a year while studying, instead of the previous 90 days. They can work for an unlimited number of hours or days, and they are no longer obliged to seek the approval of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA).
Graduates will be eligible for a settlement permit and will have an indefinite Right of Residence after two years. They now also have a six-month Right of Residence while seeking employment. The changes come as a set of steps taken by Germany to welcome and give greater freedom of choice to students, scientists and researchers arriving from outside the European Union (EU).
The Blue Card
|“Right to Residence gives foreign graduates the freedom of choice for long-term employment. It will also help in better global collaborations”
DAAD New Delhi
Other changes in the law include allowing anyone with an employment contract as an academic or qualified professional with a minimum salary of €44,800 (£35,987), to work for up to four years using the Blue Card. A Blue Card or a Blue European Labour Card is an approved EU-wide work permit allowing high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are not subject to the proposal.
Employment restrictions on family members of such people have also been eased. They will no longer require the approval of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA). Blue Card holders will already be eligible for a settlement permit after two to three years.
The world is your oyster
Christiane Schlottmann, Director, DAAD New Delhi, shares that the recent years have witnessed a change in student mobility worldwide. Many students are seeking new study destinations in Europe and even Asia like Singapore. Various factors like stringent visa rules, lack of employment opportunities after graduation and social threats in the traditionally popular destinations affect this trend. “In Europe, Germany has been a popular destination for international students due to plenty of reasons like International Degree Programmes (IDP) taught in English medium, tuition fee waivers and above all social security. In fact Germany tops the list of the most internationalised countries in the higher education arena (THES Survey 2011).
“I feel that the Right to Residence will further bolster this trend as it also presents the foreign graduates the freedom of choice for long term employment. This will not only further the internationalisation of Germany but also help collaborate much more widely in the international scene,” Schlottmann says. Germany hosted 252,032 international students in the year 2010-11 which turns out to be 12% of the total number of enrolled students in Germany.
Germany is an expensive country but most university towns will have second-hand shops selling furniture, equipment and computers and most other utility items. There are about 300 International Degree Programmes which are entirely or partly taught in English especially in the realm of engineering and pure sciences. University of Stuttgart, University of Regensburg, Technical University of Berlin and University of Duisburg-Essen remain most sought after Universities in the country. In educational institutions here, both professors and students are involved in research right from the beginning of the course.
|What’s on the platter for foreign students
- Students allowed 120-days a year of part-time work
- 18-months work and stay allowed for students seeking graduate-level job
- No time limits for working during this phase
- No need of approval of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA)
- Indefinite right of residence to graduates after 2 years
- 6-months Right of Residence to students seeking employment
- 4-years of work allowed to academics with minimum salary of 44,800 euros and a Blue Card
- Blue Card holders eligible for settlement permit after 2-3 years
- Employment restrictions on family members eased