Eine Frau und ein Mann unterhalten sich an einem Messestand (Image: Costa Belibasakis/FH Köln)

Taking on a part-time job while studying has lots of benefits: Students can make some extra money, gain valuable professional experience and might take a first step up on the career ladder. Gaining a first insight into the German corporate world is especially beneficial for international students. Our webpage provides essential information on all aspects related to working in Germany.

Prior to University

As a student of the Cologne Prep Class or participant in a DSH preparation course, you are normally not permitted to work in Germany. Exempt from this regulation are the semester breaks. Whether and how long you are allowed to work during semester breaks is determined by your immigration office. The provisions applying to you will be stated in your residence permit. To find out about these provisions, we recommend you make an inquiry at the immigration office during your first visit.

During your studies

While enrolled at Semesterkalender TH Köln, all international students are generally permitted to work part-time. However, different rules apply to citizens of the European Union (EU) than to non-EU citizens:

Citizens of member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) – that is Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – as well as Switzerland have equal legal status on the labor market as German citizens. This means that they have the same access to the labor market as German students and are permitted to work as much as they would like to without having to obtain prior approval of German authorities. Students are advised, however, not to work longer than 20 hours a week, as you would have to pay social insurance contributions should you exceed this number of hours.

International students from countries which are NOT member states of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland are normally permitted to work 120 full or 240 half days per year if they are in possession of a valid residence permit for Germany. The immigration office will record these provisions in your residence permit. Should you wish to work more days per year, you will need to obtain approval from your immigration office and the German Federal Employment Agency. If you are employed as a student or graduate assistant at TH Köln, you may exceed the 120-day cap. Please inform your immigration office should this apply to you.

If you have to do an obligatory internship during your studies, you may also exceed the 120-day cap.

Finding a part-time job

Many students partly fund their time at TH Köln by taking on a part-time job. TH Köln can assist you in finding a job that suits your profile and interests. Our Career Service and our Nebenjobservice (Part-Time Job Service) offer comprehensive counseling and specific information events on all aspects related to part-time jobs. Please be aware that you will need a good command of German to use make use of these services. Generally speaking, your German language skills will strongly affect your chances of finding a part-time job as German is the language of communication at the great majority of enterprises in Germany.

Make sure to visit the Career Service’s Jobportal for job vacancies for students and graduates alike and to create your personal application profile. For up-close and personal advice on part-time jobs, the staff at the Nebenjob-Service offices on our campuses in Deutz and Südstadt will be happy to assist you. Please note that this advice and support You may have your professional skills and desired fields of work entered into a database to receive individualized job vacancies via email. The website of University of Cologne’s Stellenwerk also offers job openings for students.

After you graduate

As an international graduate of a German university, you are presented with ample opportunities of finding employment in Germany. EU-citizens enjoy the same rights as German citizens and therefore have unrestricted access to the German labor market. Graduates from all other countries are permitted to stay in Germany for up to 18 months after graduation to find a degree-adequate position. In order to fund the time until finding permanent employment, international graduates may work without any restrictions during these 18 months.

The Academic Service of the Employment Agency [German] supports graduates and students in their last semester in finding a job. International students can also arrange for German language courses and application training courses to be sponsored by the Employment Agency.