For international researchers YOUR POCKET GUIDE TO GERMANY
A warm welcome! Here are a few important things you should know if you are thinking about moving to Germany. You will soon see that starting a new life here as a researcher or academic is not all that hard. We are sure you will soon feel at home in Germany. But why not take a look for yourself! We look forward to welcoming you. ENTRY AND RESIDENCE 04 FAMILY 22 SOCIAL SECURITY FINANCES 08 14 LIVING IN GERMANY 30 IMPRINT 35
ENTRY AND RESIDENCE
Entry and residence I 05 Come to Germany. We will make it easy for you.
06 I Entry and residence Visa and work permit As an EU citizen, you can travel to Germany and work here as a researcher. If you are an in- ternational researcher who is already working or doing a doctorate in the EU, you can also conduct research for a certain period of time in Germany without the need to apply for an additional residence permit. If you are not from the EU and do require a visa, there are various types of residence permits – depending on what you wish to do in Germany – that you apply for together with your visa. They allow you to come for research purposes or to complete a (doctoral) degree course or give you a settlement permit for highly- qualified workers or an EU Blue Card. You will have to meet certain conditions: you will either need a hosting agreement from a recognised research institution, confir- mation of admission from your university or a specific job offer. In addition, you will have to prove that you can cover your own living expenses.
You are an inter- national researcher? Then special visas are available that will make it simple for you to come to Germany and work here. Are you working as a researcher in an EU country? Then it will be easy for you to move to Germany. TIP Information and application forms can be obtained from Germany’s diplomatic missions in your home country or from the website of the Federal Foreign Office: www.diplo.de
Social security I 09 Rest assured: you will be properly covered in case of need.
10 I Social security Social insurance and health A comprehensive system of social security is in place to protect you in Germany: on your way to work, if you fall ill, or if you lose your job. Pen- sion insurance will provide for you in old age, or will help you if you are no longer able to work. Social security contributions are laid down by law and deducted directly from your salary. You will normally not have to pay them if you are on a scholarship. The exception is health insurance: everyone who lives in Germany must have health insurance. Having health insurance in Germany means that you need not worry if you get sick. A stay in hospital and any necessary treatment will be paid for. And if you are an employee, you will continue to receive sick pay – no matter whether you have statutory or private health insurance.
Social security benefits at a glance Pension insurance: rehabilitation services, a pension in the event of reduced earning capacity, in old age and for your surviving dependents Unemployment insurance: employment search services and supportive measures, unemployment benefit Health insurance: medical treatment, medicines, sick pay Accident insurance: costs of treatment and a pension in the event of an accident at work or work-related illness Long-term care insurance: outpatient care, residential care, care aids Source: www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de
You have to apply for your pension. You can also submit your application to the German Pension Insurance from abroad. Germany has social security agreements in place with around 20 countries. People who have worked in different European countries are subject to European law. It determines for example how insurance contribution periods are added together to calculate a person’s pension entitlement.
13 Pension If you are employed as a researcher, you will automatically have pension insurance in Ger- many. Depending on the length of time you were insured in Germany, you will normally receive the German pension – even after you return to your home country. If not, you can generally get your pension contribu refunded. tions If you are an EU citizen, you can have the periods in which you made pension contribu- tions in Germany counted towards your pension entitlement in your home country when you return. This is also the case if you are from a country with which Germany has signed a (social security) agreement. Periods in which you were insured there, or in an- other EU country, can also be added to your pension entitlement in Germany. If your home country is neither an EU member state nor one of the countries with which Ger- many has a social security agreement, the periods in which you paid German insurance contributions will not normally be taken into consideration there. If this is the case, you should seek advice from your insurance provider in your home country.
Finances I 15 You deserve to make a good living.
16 I Finances Salary What you will earn as a researcher in Germany will naturally depend on your specific situation – for example on your research profile and your experience. However, your expertise as a researcher or academic will be highly valued in Germany, and will therefore bring you a good salary. particular responsibilities that are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Germany has a federal system. The individual federal states are responsible for paying their university lecturers and academic staff. Conse- quently, salaries vary from one state to another. State universities and publicly-financed re- search institutions will pay you in line with – or on the basis of – predefined salary scales. Pro- fessors may receive various additional payments on top of their basic salary, for example for Salaries in industry can differ considerably from those in academia. If you are employed at man- agement level, no set pay scale will normally apply to you, so you will negotiate your own salary.
How much does a professor earn? Junior professor: 4,200–4,900 euros Professor: 4,900–6,200 euros Senior professor: 5,900–7,000 euros Monthly basic salary, gross, rounded Source: Deutscher Hochschulverband, 2018 How much does a postdoc earn? Postdoctoral researcher: 4,300–4,400 euros Head of independent junior research group: 5,000–5,700 euros The example shows the gross basic salary for academic staff according to the collective agreement applicable in most of Germany’s federal states. Monthly basic salary, gross, rounded Source: Tarifgemeinschaft deutscher Länder, 2018
Filing a tax return allows you to declare any expenses and thus get some of the tax you have paid returned to you. Normally, a person on a scholarship will not have to pay any tax in Germany. Germany has a dual taxation agreement in place or is negotiating such an agreement with more than 130countries.
19 Tax As a general rule, you will be required to pay German tax if you live and work here for more than six months. If you are employed by a uni- versity, research institution or company, income tax will be deducted directly from your salary. The rate of income tax will depend on how much you earn, whether you have any depend- ents and which tax class you choose. Germany has dual taxation agreements in place with many countries to ensure that you are not required also to pay tax in your home country, or to determine how academics are taxed. Your HR department or local tax authority will know which regulation applies to you. If you come to Germany on a research scholar- ship you will normally be exempt from tax. However, you should discuss this with your scholarship provider and also check whether your scholarship will be liable to any tax in your home country.
20 Cost of living Life in Germany is relatively inexpensive: if you compare the cost of living in big cities in Germany with that in other cities around the world, you will find that it is fairly low. There are also considerable variations within Germany, however: life in a major city in the west of Germany is far more expensive than in a small town in the east of the country. This is mainly due to the costs of renting and buy- ing a home. Naturally, this will depend to a large extent on the location of the house or flat, and how it is equipped. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that you will have to spend roughly a third of your income on a place to live. When planning your stay, you may also find it useful to know that German households spend on average around 450 euros per month on food and clothing. In total, you can expect to spend around 2,480 euros on living expenses.
How much does life in Germany cost? 877 euros Place to live 335 euros Transport 342 euros Food Leisure, culture 258 euros Furniture, household goods 150 euros 142 euros Restaurants, hotels Clothes 108 euros 99 euros Health 62 euros Communication 18 euros Education Miscellaneous 90 euros 2,481 EUROS Private consumer spending per month per household Source: Destatis, 2016
Family I 23 We will do everything we can to make your loved ones feel at home.
24 I Family Bringing your family Germany’s regulations are very family-oriented: your spouse or partner and your children can join you and will receive a residence permit. This also means that your spouse or partner will be able to work in Germany. This is true regardless of whether you come to Germany as a researcher or scientist, on an EU Blue Card or as a highly-qualified worker. And of course this also applies if you are already an EU citizen. In this case you and your dependents benefit from the EU’s freedom of movement policy. Your family can also join you even if you are still studying for a doctoral degree. In this case, however, certain requirements have to be met – your spouse or partner will for example need to have a basic command of German.
You can bring your spouse or partner and children to join you. Your partner is allowed to work. All this requires is a residence permit. Family I 25 The Federal Employ- ment Agency is the first place your partner should go if he or she is seeking work in Germany: www.arbeitsagentur.de 40 Dual career centres also provide support for your spouse or partner – they are available at more than 40 universities in Germany. To find out which these are, visit the website of the Dual Career Network Germany: www.dcnd.org
Each child over the age of one is entitled to childcare. There are international schools in many cities. For more information, visit the website of the Association of German International Schools: agis-schools.org 2 OUT OF 3 schools are all-day schools.
Family I 27 Child care and schools Your children will also be taken care of: from the age of one, they are entitled to a place in a nursery (kindergarten) or with a childminder. Your older children will be able to attend good schools, most of which operate on a full-day basis. Many cities also have international private schools. state you live in, they will be required to attend for nine or ten school years. Pupils who then choose not to stay on at school to take exams like the Mittlere Reife (intermediate school-leaving certificate) or Abitur (higher education entrance qualification) will have to attend a vocational school – usually for a period of three years. In Germany, school is compulsory for children aged six and over. Depending on the federal State schools are free of charge.
28 I Family Support for families Families need support, which is why all kinds of legal and financial help are available to make life somewhat easier for parents. Child benefit, for example. You will receive this monthly payment – if you live and work in Germany – for each of your children. working hours or stay at home full-time for this purpose, you are entitled to parental allowance for a period of up to 14 months. This amounts to roughly two-thirds of your net income; at least 300 euros and 1,800 euros at the most. After the birth of their child, parents can spend up to three years on parental leave. During this time, their job will be safe until they return. If you or your partner wish to look after your child yourself and want to reduce your The situation is somewhat different if you are still studying for a doctoral degree. You should contact your local family benefits office to find out if you are entitled to child benefit: www.familienkasse.de
You can opt to take parental leave until your child’s third birthday. 29 Each of your children will receive child benefit – roughly €200 per month. The parental allowance is available for up to 14 months.
LIVING IN GERMANY
Living in Germany I 31 Life is good in Germany. Come and see for yourself!
32 I Living in Germany Feeling at home Beginning a new life in a new country is never easy. And of course there are all kinds of things to get used to. But as you will discover, there are plenty of good reasons why you will soon feel at home in Germany. Germany is one of the world’s safest and freest countries. It is a stable democracy and its ad ministrative and governmental bodies function well. Life is good here, yet the cost of living is comparatively low. Naturally, you will want to know how and where you will live. You do not necessarily have to buy your new home. It is perfectly normal to rent a flat or house in Germany, and there is a wide range of high-quality rental housing. That said, it is importa nt to know that it is not always easy to find a good and affordable place to live, especially in big cities. To enjoy life to the full in Germany, it is important to be able to communicate with the locals. At work you should be able to get by perfectly well in English, but speaking at least a little German will help you deal with everyday situations.
Living in Germany I 31 33 Many cities compile overviews of typical local rents. Known as Mietspiegel, they can be found online. Life is good in Germany Ge is one of the world’s safest and and freest countries. yourself! . Come or Half of the Germans rent their homes. Tenants’ rights are well protected here. We speak ENGLISH Germany is among the world’s top ten countries when it comes to English proficiency levels.
34 I Interested in finding out more? Then click here: www.research-in-germany.org We specialise in answering any questions you may have as an international academic or researcher. Our portal provides you with in- formation about career planning, funding op- portunities and potential employers. www.euraxess.de Euraxess provides information and assistance to mobile researchers. The portal contains practical information concerning professional and daily life in Germany, as well as informa- tion on job and funding opportunities. www.make-it-in-germany.com This is the official multilingual online portal for skilled professionals from abroad. It ex- plains how you can make your move to Germany smoothly and successfully – from preparatory measures in your home country to your arrival and initial steps in Germany. www