Life in Germany

Life in Germany

INDEX

 


Germany – pro

Work and live in Germany with a Bluecard – what speaks for that?

Advantage # 1

Germany offers great opportunities to find work, better working conditions, strong purchasing power, developed healthsystem and safety, and probably with (significantly) higher salary than in your country. 

Advantage # 2

In Germany you can get an permanent residence for yourself and your family in less than 2 years (21 months). German citizenship is usually acquired in 7 years.

Upside # 3

In Germany there are free educational facilities (school, university, academy). Your whole family has many integration opportunities, – e.g. unrestricted work permit for your wife. Even without knowledge of German she is allowed to work or do business without restrictions. It is also possible to buy real estate. Mortgage rates in Germany are low.

Index

Germany – contra

Downside #1 Tax system

Some issues which I considere as disadvantages, downsides of living in Germany

Everyone pays tax – both Germans and foreigners. Taxpayers can be divided into two groups – freelancers and employees.

There are three most important tax types for freelancers and individual entrepreneurs: VAT, income tax and trade tax.

For employees: tax is paid by the employer. Roughly calculated, you pay approx. 33% * of your gross salary.

There are many costs that are being refunded, e.g. commuting to work (both public and private). To take them all into account, it is recommended to hire a tax consultant. He takes about 50 euro, but brings you back 600-900 euro (per year).

Disadvantage #2: Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy in Germany is flexibel – thanks to the decision-making framework called nach Ermessen*

Upside: you can achieve a lot with logical arguments. You can complain to your supervisor. Plan B: Lawyer.

Downside: as a foreigner you have a smaller chance of justice it is costly to litigate.

Key ideas

It is important not to release your emotions. Always speak with a clear focus. Argument with numbers and facts. In a stressful situation, communicate most of the time by email or letter. Write precisesly and within an agreed or promised time span.

Example. False: I will email you the documents next Friday;  correct: You will get missing documents until 25.01.19.

** – s. Glossary

Index

Preparations

How much demand is there for IT occupations in Germany?

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Labour market and demand for my (IT) profession

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What salary to expect?

You will hear the question “What is your wage expectations?” often. Let’s talk about your answer.

There are many ways to predict your future monthly salary on the Internet. You can also check www.gehalt.de or here (IT-Salary-Survey-Dec-18).

Question #1 – have you ever worked fulltime in Germany or another EU country?

If you don’t haven’t job experience in Germany yet, my recommendation is: request the minimum-wage in your branch.

There are two salary categories of the Blue card minimum wage: €40,560 and €52,000 per year.

 

Why should I declare the minimum wage?

Basic rule: an employer is interested in buying you as cheap as possible. Employee wages are an expense. Most of the companies try to minimize their expenses. In the same time the quality should not be reduced.

Other companies also want to buy you as cheaply as possible. They may also have a better budget or their business brings more profit.

Generally speaking, nobody is interested to buy you at a high price. Employers know that higher salaries do not guarantee more engagement from employees.

 

Geographic factor

In Leipzig or Dresden skilled workers get a little less than in Berlin. In Berlin they get little less than in Hamburg. In Hamburg a little less than in Munich.

Remember that living costs are lower in Dresden and Leipzig than in Berlin and Hamburg. And in Munich, where salaries are probably the highest, the cost of living is accordingly high.

A higher minimum wage should not be the only factor. It is very likely that there are some additional benefits: additional insurance, different bonuses such as Christmas bonus. But also the comfortable workplace, relaxation zones, corporate parties and training courses.

Remember that you may work for one employer for several years.

 

Key ideas

Don’t worry about your salary, after 1-2 years you will get a bigger salary.

Index

How much does life cost in Germany?

Useful terms:

Bruttogehalt – is the wage before taxes and other deductions. Nettogehalt – is the total amount an employee receives after all taxes and deductions. More German technical terms and abbreviations are available in GLOSSARY.

In order to make this chapter more interesting, let us measure the cost of living by your situation.
We consider two options: a) You are a sole earner , b) your spouse also works for the German employer

 

Option a) You are a sole earner

Imagine – you are the only one in the family who works for a German employer.

The minimum wage of a Blue Card Specialist for the year 2018 is €52,000 gross annual salary. For so-called occupations with a shortage of candidates (Mangelberufe, which include IT occupations), there is a lower limit – €40,560 gross annual salary. This corresponds to the monthly wage of €3,380 gross.

As a Blue card IT specialist you will receive at least €3380 gross per month. After all taxes and deductions you get about €2100-2200 net.

We prefer to stay conservative and we assume that you will bring home €2000 net every month.

 

Option b) Your spouse also earns money with

If you are in possession of the so-called Blue Card EU, your spouse may come to Germany without knowledge of German and stay there for the same length of time as you. Your spouse will also receive an unrestricted work permit for employment and self-employment (§ 27 Abs. 5 AufenthG).

This means that the two family members can work. According to the minimum wage law since 1.1.2017 and until today, the legal minimum wage is 8.84 Euro per hour. It corresponds to the monthly gross sum of 1,498.00.** After all taxes and deductions, the final sum is approximately €1000 net.

The following figures result:

Single income (one family member working): at least €2,000 net.
Family income (both family members working): at least €3.000 net.

The next chapter – the cost of living. What does German life cost for a one-person household (with total income €2,000) AND for a two-person household (both family members working, total income €3,000+)?

The next chapter – the cost of living. What does German life cost for a one-person household AND for a two-person household ?

Index

Cost of living in Germany for a single / couple in numbers

  • Single household – total income €2,000+
  • Couple’s household (both family partners work) total income €3,000+

Basic costs

  • Rent = 2 room apartment furnished – ca. € 1.000 
  • Food for the family (2 adults + 1 child) – 400
  • Kindergarten € 30-146 (Source: www.urbia.de/forum/)
  • Transportation € 50-100 depending on the Region. Annual plan (ABO) is cheaper.

Example for Berlin: monthly ticket AB – € 81,00, ABO – € 63,42 monthly. Free transport: One person, up to children under 13 years, hand luggage, pram, 1 dog.

Tip: Ask Google about Berlin monthly ticket 

 

Housekeeping costs

  • Cleaning, washing powder: € 15

Cleaning, rinsing and washing products are cheap. You don’t have to cut costs here.

Tip: look at prices here: www.dm.de and www.rossmann.de

  • Clothes and shoes: € 50 
    Tip: Compare prices here: amazon.com / zalando.com / asos.com
  • Hairdresser: men € 20, women (long-haired) € 80 monthly

 

Additional insurances and remaining costs:

  • Liability insurance € 3-4 monthly (billed annually € 30-50)
  • High Speed broadband & TV at home about € 30.
  • Mobile phone for private purposes: about € 15.
  • GEZ (TV and radio fee, also called ARD&ZDF) € 6 monthly

 

Savings. How much you can save from the beginning

  • Option a) – a single houshold € 1200;  
  • Option b) – a couple’s household € 1770.

 Single total income of € 2.000 – 1.200 = € 800 savings monthly

 Couple’s total of € 3.000 – 1.770 = € 1.230 savings monthly

Note that many costs can be partly covered by employer (transportation, kindergarten, gym etc.). Another part can be paid back after the annual tax return.

 

Sources:

https://www.netmoms.de/magazin/kinder/kindergarten/kosten-fuer-den-kindergarten/#kosten-fuer-den-kindergarten-schwanken-in-deutschlandhttps://www.babyartikel.de/magazin/kita-gebuehrenhttps://www.elternwissen.com/familienfinanzen/familien-spartipps/art/tipp/was-kosten-krippe-tagesmutter-oder-au-pair.html

Index

Job search

Job search strategy
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Which documents are necessary?
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How to write a resume for German employers?
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Create resume correctly.
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Interview. What to be aware of? Trapping questions.Family Reunification – children and family.
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Other documents you should send to your employer.
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Interview preparation.
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Employment contract – read then sign.
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Visa, documents, relocation. Challenges of daily life in Germany

 

How to check the if your diploma is recognized in Germany?
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Is additional recognition of your qualification needed?
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How to prepare and submit the documents for your visa?
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How to submit the documents to get your Blue card?
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How to find an accomodation?
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How to prepare all the documents besides the renting contract and make all necessary registrations?
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How to communicate with German officials?
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How to learn German?
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