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Labour Market

When can who work?

The opportunities for refugees to gain access to the labour market, and the conditions under which access is granted, fundamentally depend on their residence status at any one time. The various different residence titles are listed below:

Persons with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) decides in the asylum proceedings on four different types of protection, namely the right of asylum, refugee protection, subsidiary protection and prohibition of deportation. Depending on the type of protection, these persons are granted a residence title for a term of one to three years with the possibility of an extension or of transformation into permanent residence.
Recognised asylum applicants who have received a positive notice from the Federal Office may work without restrictions as a matter of principle.
One exception is constituted by prohibitions of deportation: If the notice is for a prohibition of deportation, the immigration authorities issue their work permit separately.

Persons with permission to reside (Aufenthaltsgestattung)
The Federal Office grants permission to reside to asylum applicants who are still in the asylum proceedings. This entitles them to live in Germany until the asylum proceedings have been completed, that is until the decision has been taken on the asylum application, and to work subject to specific conditions.

Persons with temporary suspension of deportation status (Duldung)
Persons who are not or are no longer in the asylum proceedings, or whose applications have been turned down but whose deportation has been suspended, receive from the immigration authority a “certificate of suspension of deportation”, the so-called Duldung.
Persons with permission to reside and persons with temporary suspension of deportation status are subject to special conditions for access to the labour market. These are listed below.

How can employers recognise whether a person with permission to reside or temporary suspension of deportation status may work for them?

Persons with permission to reside and persons with temporary suspension of deportation status can identify themselves vis-à-vis potential employers with their respective documents. Both the permission to reside and temporary suspension of deportation documents can be marked by the competent immigration authority with an endorsement providing information on possibilities of gainful employment. It is always recommended for the job-seeker to discuss the specific job offer with their competent immigration authority.

Does taking up employment or vocational training lead to a residence title being issued?

Persons with permission to reside do not receive a separate right of residence when they take up employment or training. The individual’s efforts towards becoming integrated are not taken into account when considering the asylum application with regard to granting protection under the law on asylum.
When it comes to persons with temporary suspension of deportation status, by contrast, the individual circumstances and integration efforts are taken into account when extending temporary suspension of deportation and issuing a residence title.

Do persons with permission to reside and persons with temporary suspension of deportation status lose their benefit entitlements under the Asylum-Seekers Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz) when they are in employment?

The earnings are deducted from the benefits granted under the Asylum-Seekers Benefits Act. The social welfare office with local responsibility will provide more information.
There may be a right to a training scholarship when taking up vocational training, depending on the type of training and the personal circumstances. This leads to the cancellation of the entitlement under the Asylum-Seekers Benefits Act, but there may be an entitlement to housing benefit. Further information on vocational training and promotion can be obtained from the careers advisors at the local Employment Agency, and further information on social security is available from the municipal agencies such as the housing benefit office or the training scholarships (BaföG) office.

Do persons with permission to reside and persons with temporary suspension of deportation status receive support during their Job search?

Yes. Persons with permission to reside and persons with temporary suspension of deportation status can report to their local Employment Agency as job-seekers. The Employment Agency is their contact and can provide them with advice.

Employer

If you already have an applicant, you should first inquire about the applicant’s residence status in order to clarify the presence of a work permit. The so called residence title of the refugee is the deciding factor whether someone is permitted to work in Germany. This information can be obtained at the appropriate immigration office. Refugees with a permission to reside are not allowed to take up employment in the first three months.
If you are looking for an applicant, please inquire at the employer service at the Employment Agency.
The Employment Agency is currently also carrying out a priority review, apart from rare exceptions, which has to be waited on, even if employer and prospective employee are in agreement already. The priority review explores whether there is a German employee or an employee from an EU country for the job vacancy. However, the priority review policy might soon be changed again.

Internship

If the minimum wage does not apply to the internship, refugees  in Germany are allowed to do an internship for a maximum of three months without the approval of the Employment Agency. Internships for longer periods of time are only possible if they are required as part of a university study or as part of school education.