These are the main types of job permits that are available in Germany:
- General employment permit – you will need a job offer for a position where the company can not find a German citizen to fill the role. Expats who apply for general employment are required to have a vocational qualification, which allows them to carry out skilled work.
- Specialist professional residence permit for Germany - the majority of applicants tend to be graduates with specialist skills. University professors, managers with several years of experience, and those with very specific skills can also apply for this type of permit. Applicants must also prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves while in Germany and have a firm offer of employment.
- University graduate permit – if you are a degree holder from a reputable foreign university, you may come to Germany for 6 months to look for work. You are not allowed to work while looking, and you need to have health insurance and be able to survive financially.
- EU Blue card – if you have a guaranteed well-paying job in Germany, plus a university degree from a German or equivalent foreign university. This has a lot of benefits and offer a fast track for permanent residence.
- Student permit – if you are undertaking education in Germany. You can also work up to 10 hours per week with this permit, as long as it is deemed okay by your school.
- Freelance/self-employment/artist visa – applicable for certain professions. To obtain a self-employed residence permit applicants will need to demonstrate how their specific skills are required in the particular area of Germany where they plan on settling down. Those wishing to set up a business will need to show that their business will make a positive contribution to the local economy, for instance by employing local staff. Applicants must also be able to prove that they can fund the start up of their own business as there are limited business funding opportunities for non-German nationals.
- Researcher permit – if you are coming to Germany to perform research and have a contract with an approved German research institution.
For more information, check out the official site with information about Entry Visas and Residence Permits, the rights and duties of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to Germany, or info about the freelancer visa process (from within Germany).