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I recently learned about a program called "German IT Green Card program" which allows high skilled IT professionals with various years of professional experience to obtain a work permit in Germany.Unfortunately i didn't find much information about it online.
Did you ever heard about such program?I am an Egyptian senior Java Developer/Team leader who want to move to Germany and i am seeking for a job.So your feed back is highly appreciated.
I'm an EU citizen so I don't need a permit to work in Germany, but I worked there for several years in the 1990s, so maybe I can offer a couple of tips.
You need to bear in mind that EU citizens can work in Germany, and many Eastern Europeans already speak German as well as English, so there will be competition for jobs from people who don't need permits to work there and can already speak the language.
Many workplaces may use English as the working language, and many people speak some English (especially younger people and in the cities), but you will need at least some German in order to deal with authorities, utilities, landlords etc, as well as simply being able to join in informal conversations with your colleagues or friends outside work. The Goethe Institut is Germany's cultural organisation and offers courses/exams in German - there may be a Goethe Institut in your country, so contact them to find out more. But remember that the Goethe Institut does not have anything to do with applying for permits etc, which you will probably have to do via your local German Consulate.
Accommodation and costs:
This can be a real challenge, especially in popular cities like Munich where I worked. There is a lot of competition for rented accommodation, and it can be very expensive. Do a search on the Immowelt site to get an idea of costs in your preferred city. Incidentally, the number of rooms (Zimmer) includes the living room, so a "2 Zimmer" ("2 room") apartment would have one living room and one bedroom, for example.
Most places are advertised via real estate agents ("Makler" or "Immobilien") who are working for the landlord. You may have to fill in an application form to be considered as a tenant for a particular property - giving details of your employer etc - and you may be asked for references, which is obviously a problem if you've just arrived from another country. Even if you manage to get an apartment, it can cost you a lot of money just to get in the door: there is usually a security deposit of 2 months' rent, plus your first month's rent in advance. But the worst part is that you also have to pay the Makler's fees, which are often another 2 months' rent. So you could end up having to pay the equivalent of 5 months' rent before you even step in the door of your apartment.
Another problem is that Germans often rent unfurnished apartments with no kitchen fittings - i.e. no sink, no taps, no washing machine etc, just a couple of pipes sticking out the wall - so each tenant has to pay to put in their own kitchen. This means that when they move out, they will want the next tenant to pay for the kitchen they put in (a payment known as "Abloese"), or they will rip their kitchen out and take it away with them. This is of course great news for companies that sell fitted kitchens, but it can make life difficult if you are looking for an apartment and don't want to have to buy a new kitchen as well. The same often applies to things like light fittings and cupboards as well. Furnished ("moebliert") apartments will have kitchens, lights etc, but are often harder to find.
Your security deposit ("Kaution") should be placed in a special escrow bank account, which means neither you nor the landlord can access the money unless you both agree. This gives you some protection against landlords simply taking your money, but you will find that most landlords will try to keep some of the money when you leave their apartment - for cleaning, re-decoration etc. Assume you are going to lose some/all of this money when you move out, so you can plan your finances accordingly when you look for the next apartment.
Your rental contract (Mietvertrag) may be for a specified period, or it may be unlimited. You need to be sure you know what the contract period is, and what the notice period is. If you have a fixed-term contract, you may be obliged to pay for the property until the end of the contract term. If you need to move out sooner, e.g. to take a job in another city, then you may be required to find a new tenant to replace you (this might cause problems with your Kaution, for example).
Most cities have "tenants' associations" (Mietervereine) which you can join for a small fee, and they can often provide you with general advice on accommodation issues e.g. contract terminology, clarify tenant's/landlord's rights/responsibilities, etc. You should definitely join your local Mieterverein even before you look for an apartment - your colleagues will probably know how to find the Mieterverein in your city - and ask them to help you understand your rental contract.
Hausordungen (house regulations):
Most apartment buildings will have a set of house regulations, often displayed on a noticeboard in the lobby, which you will need to check for any unexpected rules or obligations e.g. some smaller buildings may require you to clean the stairs on a rota, although larger buildings usually have cleaners to do this, which is paid for through your monthly "Nebenkosten" (service charges) which you pay with your rent.
Many apartments do not have their own washing machines, but there will usually be a "Waschkeller" - a laundry room in the basement. Be careful to keep to the rota for using this, as your neighbours will be quick to complain if you accidentally use their time-slot!
Rubbish collection is often quite complicated, as Germans are among the world's top re-cyclers of waste materials. There may be several different containers, each for a different type of rubbish - bottles, paper, kitchen scraps etc. Get somebody to explain how this works in your building, so you can be sure not to get the blame for breaking the rules. Also, if you buy bottles - mineral water, milk etc - you can usually take the bottle back to the shop and claim a deposit of a few cents.
There are strict rules about noise: you are supposed to be quiet after 10pm at night, and all day on Sunday. In some buildings this can mean you're not supposed to flush the toilet at night, and you can't vacuum or run your dishwasher etc on Sunday. People will complain - and even call the police - if you break these rules. I heard of a guy who was washing his car on a Sunday and his neighbours called the police! Of course, it's much better to deal with any problems politely if possible, and try to show consideration to your neighbours as well e.g. if you are having a party, make sure you let them know and maybe try to keep the noise down later on, as people will usually be much more tolerant if they've been given fair warning and feel you are trying to be considerate.
You MUST get "private Haftpflichtversicherung" - private liability insurance - as soon as possible after you arrive. This will cover you for various risks like damaging somebody else's windows, spilling food on your neighbour's rug, scratching their car by mistake (e.g. with your supermarket trolley - which happened to me), and so on. You might think this is silly, but after football, the German national sport is taking each other to court and generally demanding people pay them damages. This is partly because they assume everybody has Haftpflichtversicherung so everybody knows the insurance companies will pay. This can get very expensive very quickly, so ask your colleagues how to get yourself some private Haftpflicht insurance as soon as possible. You might want to get insurance for legal costs as well - just in case!
You need a separate type of Haftpflichtversicherung for driving a car, but you can get that when you arrange your auto insurance.
Anmeldepflicht (obligation to register):
Everybody has to "anmelden" (register) as a resident with the local authorities, and you may need to prove you've done this when dealing with utiltiies/authorities/banks etc. Your colleagues will be able to advise you on how to do this in your city.
Rule are rules:
You can see that Germany has a lot of rules, and they expect you to know and obey the rules - they often seem to regard arbitrary rules as having the same force and inevitability as the law of gravity! The famous "Germanic efficiency" also means that they are really efficient at following rules, even when the rules make no sense, so you just have to accept that this is how things are done in Germany. For example, if you see somebody crossing an empty road while the pedestrian signal is red, you can be 99% certain they're a foreigner.
But there are benefits to this as well: things generally work well in Germany - e.g. public transport is outstanding, which makes other areas of life much easier - and petty crime is generally pretty low. For example, most British towns have real problems with public drunkenness and vandalism at weekends, but I lived within 200 meters of about 12 pubs in Munich and never experienced any problems. Some of those petty rules and regulations can actually make life better for society as a whole. Not all of them, though!
Check out the relevant German government websites etc for information, as well as other informal resources for foreigners living in Germany, and look around for books on living and working in Germany to get practical advice based on other people's experiences.
No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
Joined: Feb 03, 2009
Hello Cris, thanks for your answer.
I am Egyptian , so i am not qualified to work in Germany unless i managed to issue a work permit.