Dual career in Germany

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People who set sail for new horizons do not always want to do so alone. Increasingly often, highly qualified couples are looking for 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. A dual career service in Germany offers family-friendly assistance, especially in the fields of education or research. The employer supports the (highly) qualified partners of new employees in finding a job and provides practical help with settling into new surroundings.

Dual career networks at universities

Although by no means all institutions offer a dual career service, their number is steadily increasing: over 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, over 30 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.

Regional dual career networks also exist in the Rhineland, Berlin and many other regions. 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 on the website of 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 Plan your stay > Work permit.
    • Basic information about how you and your partner can successfully organise your move to Germany – from preparations in your country of origin to your arrival and first steps – is available from the website at www.make-it-in-germany.com.
  • 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: Find a job

Career couples – a family moves to Germany

Career couples – a family moves to Germany

The chance to run a sizeable research group and do academic work at the highest level makes for an attractive offer. Nevertheless, academics’ decisions about whether to switch to a new employer and move to a new country increasingly also depend on their partners’ career opportunities. In Germany, Dual Career Services are available to help families decide to make the move and get off to the best possible start – as the example of Sarah und Tim Büthe shows. More Career couples – a family moves to Germany