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How to land a job in Germany for IT professionals

Карьера в IT-индустрии
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At my agency we work a lot with international candidates and German companies. So, I wanted to write a small essay about the visa issues because often they will influence your chances of landing a job heavily. Since I work mostly with German market, I will talk about the processes in Germany, the processes may and probably are different in other EU countries. Hopefully the information will be helpful and will give you some clarity.

As all of you know, nowadays there is a big demand for experienced IT professionals in almost all EU countries. When I say experienced I mean 3+ years of experience. Companies are adjusting their teams to accept English speaking colleagues from around the globe, coming up with different perks to smooth up the relocation process and in general the IT world is becoming predominantly English speaking. Germany government understanding the demand by the industry has made the process quite fast and straightforward. I expect even easier process to be implemented in the upcoming year or two.

Visa sponsorship

Companies in Germany do not sponsor visas like in other countries, there is no such a term here. Companies either hire non-EU candidates or not. The decision is strictly an internal decision and is not influenced by any quotas, permissions etc. If you get a job contract from a German company (be it a big conglomerate or a small startup) you have a right to apply for the work visa.

Do I need a university degree?

Yes, for BlueCard

Good news for those having Bachelor degrees or above. You guys are qualified for so called BlueCard (specific name for a work permit for highly skilled labor), you can read about it in the internet, there is plenty of information. Basically if you have your bachelors and a work contract with a German company, you can go to embassy and relocate, simple. To check if your university and study programme are recognized in Germany follow the link: anabin.kmk.org/anabin.html (it is in German). For IT engineers the minimum gross salary to obtain the BlueCard is c. 41.000 EUR per year, good news are — market salaries are much higher than 40K.

No, for normal work visa

A bit harder the situation is for those with degrees from universities not recognized in Germany or for those who quit or never went to the university. But no drama, you can still get the work visa. Generally in order to obtain the work visa you need to prove that you have at least 5 years of work experience in the related field. You would need to collect the certificates from your past employers and have them translated by a certified translator. If in the process of obtaining a BlueCard the company is not involved, to get a work visa the company needs to produce a couple of documents, fill a couple of forms and send them to the Agency for Work (Agentur für Arbeit). The agency will decide if you can be granted a work visa or not. If yes you will get a letter with permission with which you go to the embassy. In general the process takes 1-3 weeks longer, than BlueCard one, which is fine.

P.S. I still don't understand why some companies do not consider candidates without a degree and prefer to have an open vacancy for months. If you a company recruiter, maybe you can comment on that.

Countries of origins

It is unfortunate that candidates from some countries are often rejected straight away. Why? Mainly because it takes too long to get an appointment at a German consulate. These countries (at least that I know of) are Iran — 12 months, India — 6 months, Nigeria — 5+ months, etc. It may be a good strategy for you guys living in these countries to apply for the appointment at the consulate even before applying for the actual job.

To compare, in Brazil or Russia it takes around 1 month. Therefore guys, don't get upset by rejections. To find out how fast you can get the appointment just visit the webpage of the closest to you German consulate.

There are exceptions for every rule. What I can recommend is to apply for the Job Search Visa, with that visa you can come to Germany and you will have 6 months to find a job. As soon as you land a job your job search visa can be converted into BlueCard. Unfortunately the Job Search Visa is available for those having a degree only.

Relocation support?

In general companies do provide a relocation support. In practice it heavily depends on the company's budget. Also often companies offer reimbursement of expenses, it means you should be ready to invest in your relocation first. Since companies incur additional expenses hiring candidates from abroad it is a good strategy to target the average or below average salary for your level of experience. In this case companies may be willing to offer a bigger relocation package. And most probably you will get a salary raise within 6-12 months.

If you are serious about relocating I would recommend you to contact recruiters from agencies, often companies are more likely to accept a candidate delivered by the agency than if you apply directly. The agency can also use their knowledge to facilitate the process. Please don't take it as a sales pitch, but that is true. The direct applications also work though.

Hope it is helpful to anyone

Marat Yakupov
CEO at a Recruitment Company
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