Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration
Study & Research Working during Studies
Part-time jobs or internships can help students earn some money and gain initial experiences on the German labour market.
Working during Studies - Hamburg Welcome Portal
The employment rules for students are very strict. Generally all students in Germany may work no more than 20 hours per week during the lecture period. Anyone who works more than 20 hours per week while the university is in session is considered to be an employee under social security law and must pay earnings-related monthly contributions to Social Insurance. Employees, however, cannot benefit from the low-fee health insurance rates for students anymore.
Depending on your citizenship, there may be further legal provisions you must respect if you want to work during your studies.
1. Students from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
Students from the EU, the EEA or from Switzerland enjoy extensive rights of free movement. They are allowed to do internships and to work for an employer or as freelancers without any restrictions as long as their work activity during the lecture period doesn’t exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week.
2. Students from other States
As a general rule, international students from non-EU or non-EEA states may work 120 days or 240 half-days per calendar year only. This doesn’t require an approval from the Federal Employment Agency (“Agentur für Arbeit”). The level of your earnings plays no part in this as well. You and your employer must monitor whether you already reached the maximum of workdays you are entitled to or not.
A voluntary internship counts as a job regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid. Therefore, each day spent on the internship is deducted from the maximum of 120 full days or 240 half days per calendar year which students from non-EU/non-EEA states are allowed to work. This does not apply to internships that are a mandatory component of your course of studies.
2.2 On-campus Jobs
Working at an institute, library or other facility at your university or a university-related institution such as “Studierendenwerk Hamburg” would be an ideal way to enhance your university experience. According to the Residence Act, these jobs, for example as a student assistant (“Studentische Hilfskraft”) or as a research assistant (“Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin” resp. “Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter”), are not subject to any time restrictions. However, even in on-campus jobs at universities and university-related institutions you are still only allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Otherwise they would be considered as employments subject to Social Insurance.
2.3 Self-Employment or Freelance Work
Students from non-EU states who wish to work either self-employed, as a freelancer or on a fee basis must first apply for a special permit from their relevant Foreigners Office. Students who work self-employed or as freelancers without this permit may lose their residence permit for Germany and are liable to be fined up to 5,000 Euro.
2.4 Study Preparation
The rules for students from non-EU states who take part in a language course or “Studienkolleg” in Germany are even stricter than for regular students. During the first year of this study preparation, you are not allowed to work at all. An employment of up to 120 full days or 240 half days is only allowed after the first full year. On-campus jobs at universities and university-related institutions are also only allowed after the first full year of study preparation.
3. Job Search
There are several possibilities of finding for student job in Hamburg, for example:
- ConAction-Jobs in the educational and social fields (a project of Studierendenwerk Hamburg)
- further job offers from Studierendenwerk Hamburg
- announcements on bulletin boards in universities, libraries, supermarkets, shops, restaurants and cafes
- job advertisements in local newspapers
- on the Internet:
4. More Information
Please feel free to ask the Studierendenwerk Hamburg for consultation on these topics.
Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs
Grindelallee 9 (3rd floor)
Phone: +49 (0) 40 / 41902-155
Personal counselling without prior appointment:
Tuesday & Thursday 9.30 a.m. – 12 noon and 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
and also counselling by appointment