Dual career in Germany

PhD student with his supervisor.

People who set sail for new horizons do not always want to do so alone. Increasingly often, highly qualified couples are going in search of new career opportunities together. Many universities and research institutions in Germany support this.

What is a dual career?

A dual-career family is a family in which both partners have careers.

Dual career networks at universities

Although by no means all institutions offer a dual career service, their number is steadily increasing: 40 universities nationwide have joined the Dual Career Network Germany (DCND) and offer highly qualified researcher couples targeted support in their joint career planning. You will find a list of the member universities of the DCND on its website: www.dcnd.org > our-members

Dual career networks - regional cooperations

More and more universities, research institutions and companies are joining together in regional networks that support one another in finding employment for the partners of highly qualified researchers.

In the Rhine-Main region alone, 26 research organisations are working together in a dual career network (in German) to attract highly qualified couples to the area. They support the partners of newly arrived researchers in their search for suitable career opportunities and other connections in the region. They often help in finding accommodation, schools and childcare facilities as well as dealing with authorities.

Networks of this kind to support highly qualified couples also exist in other regions of Germany. You should find out in advance whether your university or research institution offers this service.

First steps towards a job

What you need to know if your partner is looking for a job in Germany:

  • Obtaining a work permit for your partner

    Germany belongs to the European Union, and citizens of its member states enjoy freedom of movement. That is why citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland can work in Germany without special formalities. This normally also applies to the members of their family – irrespective of their citizenship.

    If you entered the country as a non-EU citizen with a researcher visa, as a highly qualified person or with a Blue Card in accordance with the Residence Act, then your partner will also benefit from the favourable conditions. Spouses of researchers and highly qualified persons receive a residence permit and are allowed to work.

    • Information on these and other questions relations to work permits and entering the country can be found in the leaflet on Research Stays in Germany (PDF, 2 MB) published by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
    • Information is also available from the Aliens’ Authority in your municipality.
    • You can also find more information on our website in the section Plan Your Stay > Work Permit.
  • Finding a job for your partner

    As a rule, the first point of contact when looking for a job is the Federal Employment Agency in your town. Its staff will advise you in your search for employment and inform you of current vacancies and, if necessary, training opportunities. You can carry out job searches using the agency’s eService.

    You will also find information about job vacancies here: Search for a job