Work permission as a language student

19 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

So sorry to have to post this, I know this topic is super annoying. I've searched through the forums, spoken to friends, gone to the Ausländerbehörde, google'd it... and I just have had such mixed results that I need to ask!

 

Anyway, I am American, and I originally came here with the hopes of getting a language visa, doing an integration course, and babysitting on the side. I was missing a document or two (standard) at my visa appointment, but the lady said anyway that with this visa I could work holidays in 2011 and 90 days in 2012 (I think.)

 

Before my next student visa appointment, I got an internship offer from a company saying they would sponsor my work permit, so was no longer going the language student visa route. Lo and behold, one month later, I find out from the arbeitsampt that the company had no idea what they were doing visa-wise and the work permit was not approved because salary requirements were not met.

 

ANYWAY, it's looking like the easiest thing to do now would be for me to go back to the Ausländerbehörde (if they don't hate me by now) and try again for the language visa, esp. now that I know exactly what documents I need. I know it sounds crazy, but I still really would love to work a bit for this company to get some experience in that field, as well as learn German at the same time. It's kind of my last ditch effort to make it work here in Berlin. The company said I could still work for them 90 days out of the year (or 20 hrs a week) whilst attending language school, but now I'm panicking wondering if this is legal... especially because they don't seem that well-versed in visa issues.

 

I have seen mixed answers on this forum, as well as online, as well as from friends, as well as from my memory of my last visa appointment. I was wondering if anyone could help me get some concrete information on this, since I don't speak German and am finding it difficult to get answers from any official German website. I'm hoping to get everything sorted in the next day or two, and don't want to waste any more time and money pursuing this if possible.

 

Thanks so much!!

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Thanks so much!

 

I guess the one thing I'm still wondering...

 

"There are two types of permits for language courses. The regular language course permit does not include a work authorization (AufenthG §16 Abs. 5) and requires 18 hrs/wk of German. This permit is only suitable for those who want to learn German and need a short-term residence permit, but do not need to work. Only citizens of countries to whom Germany grants special privileges (see note below) may apply for a permit in Germany without having to return first to their country of origin.

There is a separate category for preparatory courses (studienvorbereitende Maßnahmen ) such as language courses and a Studienkolleg, etc. needed for acceptance into a German university*(AufenthG §16 Abs. 1). This permit includes a limited 90 day/year work authorization (in the first calendar year only during the holidays) and is valid for a maximum of 2 years. After completing the necessary preparatory courses all foreign students may apply for a regular study permit. NOTE: In Berlin the Ausländerbehörde does not consider foreigners who have completed a prepartory course to be classic "Studienbewerber" (see next paragraph) and will generally issue a Fiktionsbescheinigung that includes the 90 day work authorization instead of the permit listed below that does not allow applicants to work."

 

I'm guessing that at my first visa appointment that they assumed I was doing a prep course, hence why I was told the thing about working holidays one year and 90 days per year the next.

 

So, when it states: "This permit includes a limited 90 day/year work authorization (in the first calendar year only during the holidays) and is valid for a maximum of 2 years" does that mean that, if I go for my visa this week, I can only work holidays in 2011 but can work 90 days out of 2012? Or does it mean I can only work holidays Dec. 2011 - Dec. 2012, and then 90 days in 2013?

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So, when it states: "This permit includes a limited 90 day/year work authorization (in the first calendar year only during the holidays) and is valid for a maximum of 2 years" does that mean that, if I go for my visa this week, I can only work holidays in 2011 but can work 90 days out of 2012? Or does it mean I can only work holidays Dec. 2011 - Dec. 2012, and then 90 days in 2013?

 

The links "prestononline" gave are excellent, I found the second one particularly helpful. However, skimming through the relevant passages, I couldn't find mention of the "holiday clause" - but IIRC this is definitely enforced and means that in the first calender year, in your case that would be 01-31 December 2011, assuming you get a student permit that quickly. However, if issuance of your permit is slow and doesn't happen until 2012, it could mean you are stuck with only being allowed to work during the holidays from 01 January to 31 December 2012.

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Wow, thanks so much. These links are incredibly useful!!

 

I guess it all depends now on if I can get a walk-in appointment and a language visa in the next month then! Also, I guess it depends on what the visa issuer thinks about my language course. I'll see if I can enroll in a uni prep. course just to play it safe. I really hope it does mean that if I get my visa before January that I'd be able to work the 90 days in 2012!

 

Thank you everyone for your thoughts!

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You are welcome, and good luck with the process.

 

But just clarify with the Ausländerbehörde if the year they talk about are indeed calender year, I think they are, but the DAAD document mentions "during the first year of their stay" and therefore ambigious (maybe the German text or the Law is clear). Rather to be sure than to have a nasty suprise later on.

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Participants attending pre-study language courses and preparatory courses (Studienkollegs)

are prohibited from taking up gainful employment outside the vacations during the first year

of their stay. During the vacations, jobs as defined in 2.3.1.1 and 2.3.1.2 may be permitted.

Responsibility for the decision lies with the foreigners authority. Exceptions may apply for

Turkish nationals on the basis of the Association Agreement.

In the second year of their stay to prepare for their studies, gainful employment may be taken

up to the same extent as is allowed for other students (cf. 2.1).

 

Yeah this interpretation of a year sounds a bit different... sounds like it would start the day I start class.

 

I guess it's all going to come down to what this first year/second year business means and I think it's only possible to find out at the visa appointment. If it's 365 days that I could only work holidays, then I'm moving back to the states. If it's just until Dec. 31, 2011 that I could only work holidays, I'll stay in Berlin.

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I tried to find a bit more information to your specific question, and found this interview with the person responsible for helping international students at the university of Kiel. Interesting is particularly the following statement:

 

 

Für die Nicht-EU-Studierenden ist es möglich, bezogen auf das Kalenderjahr, 90 Tage zu arbeiten. Das heißt, dass diejenigen, die zum Wintersemester im Oktober kommen, natürlich einen Vorteil haben, weil sie die 90 Tage bis Dezember noch ausnutzen können. Während der vorbereitenden Deutschkurse darf man diese 90 Tage nur in den Semesterferien abarbeiten bzw. wenn man noch an der Volkshochschule ist und an einem Deutschkurs teilnimmt, dann auch nur in der Schulferienzeit.

Translation: For non-EU students it's possible to work 90 days in the calendar year. That means those who arrive for the winter semester in October have an advantage, as they can use the 90 days until December. During preparatory German courses, the 90 days are only allowed to be worked in the semester holidays or, if you are taking part in a German course at the Volkshochschule, during the school holidays.

 

This is what I remember from my days of doing a bit of HR for a small company - that the 90 days apply to the (January to December) calendar year.

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I tried to find a bit more information to your specific question, and found this interview with the person responsible for helping international students at the university of Kiel. Interesting is particularly the following statement:

 

Translation: For non-EU students it's possible to work 90 days in the calendar year. That means those who arrive for the winter semester in October have an advantage, as they can use the 90 days until December. During preparatory German courses, the 90 days are only allowed to be worked in the semester holidays or, if you are taking part in a German course at the Volkshochschule, during the school holidays.

 

This is what I remember from my days of doing a bit of HR for a small company - that the 90 days apply to the (January to December) calendar year.

 

Wow this is great, thanks so much for finding this for me!

 

Therefore, this month (December) would be my "holiday working year," and starting in January I can work 90 days in general?

 

(Sorry, I know it's all in front of me but my brain is kind of fried from this visa stress, need to verify everything as much as I can)

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Therefore, this month (December) would be my "holiday working year," and starting in January I can work 90 days in general?

 

Always assuming your language student visa is issued immediately - sorry, but I have no idea of the process and time involved in that, but am sure there is information to be found via search here.

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Yeah, well we'll see how that goes! I think it's a supposedly quick process but I've learned to expect the worst with visas :)

 

Thank you so much everyone! I am going to the Ausländerbehörde in two days, gonna try the hellish walk-in appt thing, and if I fail then try again all next week. In any case I will sleep much easier tonight having this question figured out -I was really panicking!- so really, thank you!!

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I was on a language school visa and they said you can work during the holidays and thats it. But also it wasnt exactly clear what "Holidays" meant.. I just decided to get the Teaching English visa to make life easy. It's not an easy field to get into as its severely overcrowded but at least you can earn some money and attend German classes. Not getting rich by any means but helped greatly.

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So, when it states: "This permit includes a limited 90 day/year work authorization (in the first calendar year only during the holidays) and is valid for a maximum of 2 years" does that mean that, if I go for my visa this week, I can only work holidays in 2011 but can work 90 days out of 2012?

 

Yes. Could you please let me know why this wasn't clear? I was going to leave out the calendar year part, however, students doing the Studienkolleg have predefined Ferien and could theoretically work during this time.

 

 

Also, I guess it depends on what the visa issuer thinks about my language course.

 

They are supposed to be convinced that your intention is to enroll in university once you have completed the necessary language courses. They might ask you to provide proof that you are eligible to apply to university in Germany.

 

 

But just clarify with the Ausländerbehörde if the year they talk about are indeed calender year, I think they are, but the DAAD document mentions "during the first year of their stay" and therefore ambigious (maybe the German text or the Law is clear)

 

The law (in German) is quite clear and it is also well explained in the VAB (operations manual for Berlin).

 

 

I was on a language school visa and they said you can work during the holidays and thats it. But also it wasnt exactly clear what "Holidays" meant.. I just decided to get the Teaching English visa to make life easy. It's not an easy field to get into as its severely overcrowded but at least you can earn some money and attend German classes.

 

On a study permit it is not possible to freelance. On a freelance permit it will not be possible to be employed without going through the Vorrangprüfung. Since the ZAV has already rejected her internship position, it will not be possible for to work at the internship if she goes the freelance route.

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They are supposed to be convinced that your intention is to enroll in university once you have completed the necessary language courses. They might ask you to provide proof that you are eligible to apply to university in Germany.

 

Really? That's it? So you could in theory study at the Goethe Institut and get the 90 day work allowance? When I looked into it it seemed like you could only get the visa with the work allowance if you were enrolled in a Studienkolleg, regardless of future intentions. (I gave up at that point because I cannot get the documents needed to apply to a Studienkolleg before the deadline.) The rules really are completely unclear though and change depending on the source.

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On a study permit it is not possible to freelance. On a freelance permit it will not be possible to be employed without going through the Vorrangprüfung. Since the ZAV has already rejected her internship position, it will not be possible for to work at the internship if she goes the freelance route.

 

Something else crossed my mind after reading this (and I will go start doing some research now, but thought I'd ask it now anyway): so, if I miraculously get the visa and working permission, would I have to register what company I'm working for anywhere, such as at the Arbeitsampt? Could it possibly be rejected since my internship there was rejected? I would no longer be doing an internship, it would be as a "werkstudentin."

 

I wish the HR dept at this company knew what it was doing so I wouldn't have to figure all this out by myself!

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Update: So the werkstudentin thing would not be possible, and apparently they are still trying to see if they can work something out with my work permit with the slight possibility that something could be done. *sigh*

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Really? That's it? So you could in theory study at the Goethe Institut and get the 90 day work allowance?

No, you would just be on a regular language learning visa and not allowed to work.

 

Read this again from post #3

 

 

"There are two types of permits for language courses. The regular language course permit does not include a work authorization (AufenthG §16 Abs. 5) and requires 18 hrs/wk of German. This permit is only suitable for those who want to learn German and need a short-term residence permit, but do not need to work. Only citizens of countries to whom Germany grants special privileges (see note below) may apply for a permit in Germany without having to return first to their country of origin.

There is a separate category for preparatory courses (studienvorbereitende Maßnahmen ) such as language courses and a Studienkolleg, etc. needed for acceptance into a German university*(AufenthG §16 Abs. 1). This permit includes a limited 90 day/year work authorization (in the first calendar year only during the holidays) and is valid for a maximum of 2 years.

 

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The rules really are completely unclear though and change depending on the source.

 

AFAIK there have not been any recent changes to §16 AufthenG or the Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift zum Aufenthaltsgesetz, which set out the rules for study permits.

 

If I were you, I wouldn't bother with the Goethe Institut. Personally I think they are an overpriced brandname. :rolleyes: You can also find good German courses for much less.

 

 

would I have to register what company I'm working for anywhere, such as at the Arbeitsampt? Could it possibly be rejected since my internship there was rejected? I would no longer be doing an internship, it would be as a "werkstudentin."

 

If you get them, the 90 days/year are Zustimmungsfrei, however, you have to be registered in an university (or FH) to be a Werkstudentin.

 

 

No, you would just be on a regular language learning visa and not allowed to work.

 

Actually it depends what type of permit she would receive (AufenthG §16 Abs. 1 or Abs. 5). It is possible to have language courses counted as a studienvorbereitende Maßnahme, however, the arguments have to be convincing.

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