Relocating your employees to Germany

If you want to move employees to Germany to work there, it is important that you are well aware of all the rules and requirements that apply there. There is a lot of demand in Germany for employees in the IT sector, for which, for example, different registration procedures apply. We tell you the most important points you need to know about sending employees to Germany.

Immigration requirements

Visa and permit when working in Germany

If you are going to post an employee abroad, you will have to deal with a number of rules and laws that employers and employees must comply with. Most importantly, the employee must have a work permit and visa. Without these documents, the employee may, under certain circumstances, not perform work in Germany.

If the employee is a legal citizen of an EU member state or one of the following countries, they do not have to apply for a visa nor a work permit: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. However, if the employee will be posted for longer than 90 days in Germany, they will have to apply for a residence permit.

Citizens from Australia, Canada, United States, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea or Israel, do not need an entry visa to go to Germany. The application for a residence permit for work purposes can be started after entering Germany.

Please note that a visa or work permit has to be issued in advance in case the employee has to start working directly after arrival in Germany. It is not possible to start working before the obligatory work permit has been issued.

Other non-EU citizens (excluding the above countries) must comply with an application process that is slightly less straightforward. For example, these employees must apply for an entry visa for employment purposes before they can travel to Germany.

Type of work permits in Germany

Germany has different types of work permits, depending on qualifications and employment type. We list the types of permits below:

  • Work Visa – with a contract

This work permit can be applied for if the employee already has a recognized qualification (such as a university degree) and already has a contract. Skilled workers can follow a fast-track procedure, if the employer can provide a pre-approval from the local foreigners office in Germany.

  • EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is available for foreign nationals from non-EU countries who are highly skilled. The card can be applied for if the employee has a recognized university degree and if they have a job offer that pays €56,400 before taxes per year (or €43,992 for physicians, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians, and IT-specialist). The EU Blue Card is valid for 4 years.

Work permit for spouses

Does your employee have a family or spouse, and do they want to relocate to Germany together? If the spouse is an EU/EFTA citizen or legally married to one, they are free to enter Germany. They need a visa to enter the country, and after arrival they can apply for a residence permit.

Spouses of employees who hold a residence permit, an EU Blue Card, a permanent settlement permit or permit for permanent stay in the EU can get a visa if both are at least 18 years old. Basic German language skills (A1 level) are a requirement.

Relocating employees to Germany

Relocation management Germany

Working conditions

Germany has a number of required working conditions that employers must meet. For example, it is legally determined that the maximum working time per day is 8 hours, from Monday to Saturday and that a maximum of 48 hours per week may be worked. This may be extended to 10 hours per day provided that the average of 8 hours per day within a period of 6 months or 24 weeks is not exceeded.

Public holidays

Germany has one of the highest public holiday entitlements in Europe. Each year, there are nine official national public holidays in addition to the additional days off that certain German states maintain. In some regions local workers can enjoy up to 13 public holidays a year.


The average median annual salary in Germany is around €47,700 – according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany in 2020. Salaries can differ per federal state (Bundesland) or the region where employees are posted. For example, larger cities mostly offer high salaries to cover the higher cost of living. The type of work, skills, or industry in which the employee works also influences the level of salary.

Cost of living in Germany

The cost of living in Germany is relatively low if compared to other European countries. Depending on the location where you stay, the costs of renting can vary widely. A rental property in a big city is more expensive than outside the big city. Rental costs are particularly high in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt am Main.

Public travel facilities are cheap, and food and drink prices are comparable to other European countries. Health care is compulsory for all residents and visitors in Germany and amounts to approximately 15% of the salary. Half of this is paid by the employer and the other half by the employee.

Costs of relocating employees to Germany

When you send your employee to Germany for a short or long period of time to perform work, there are various rules and laws that you must comply with as an employer.

Moving the household goods

Certainly during a long stay in Germany, it is not surprising that an employee would like to move his or her personal furniture and belongings. However, this does lead to high costs, especially when a lot of furniture has to be transported abroad. Depending on the type of furniture and the quantity, the transport costs can vary from €1000 to €7,500.

In addition, you can also offer the employee extra support when moving by hiring packers who will pack the household effects and belongings for him or her. The costs are between €250 and €1000.

Move insurance

Moving personal and valuable belongings must of course go smoothly. However, something can unexpectedly go wrong and it is important that you have a good moving insurance policy. Prices for move insurance can differ between 1% and 4% of the total value of the goods. An average three-bedroom house or apartment has a value of €50.000, which means the insurance costs are somewhere between €500 and €2000.

Flight tickets

The employee and their family have to travel to their new location in the event of a worldwide relocation. This frequently occurs by air travel or, if the employee is from a neighboring nation, via automobile. Airline tickets, which are best bought in advance to save money, must be purchased for the flight. You can decide in consultation with the employee whether the travel costs will be partially or fully reimbursed.

Relocation management for your company

A relocation to Germany involves a lot of arrangements. It is nice to have an expert who knows exactly what needs to be done and who takes action for you in good time, so that both the employer and employee experience as little stress as possible. The relocation experts at Voerman are at your service with years of experience and know exactly what to do.

Read more about our relocation management services or request a quote.

Back to overview