I have a residence permit

If your application for asylum has been accepted, i.e. you have been recognised as a refugee, or an individual entitled to asylum or subsidiary protection, you may work as an employee or a self-employed person without any restrictions. That means you have the same rights as a German citizen on the job market.

If your application for asylum has been rejected, but you have been granted a residence permit based on a national deportation ban, the immigration office will decide whether you can obtain a work permit. Check your residence permit or the additional papers given to you to see if you are allowed to work in Germany.

I do not (yet) have a residence permit

If you have an “Aufenthaltsgestattung”, i.e. a proof of arrival ("Ankunftsnachweis") or a "Duldung", your access to the labour market will remain limited. Self-employment is, in principle, not allowed and to work as an employee, you must first apply for a work permit at your immigration office ("Ausländerbehörde"). The immigration office will accept your application only if the relevant employment agency agrees.

Your work permit will be only valid for a specific job. Your future boss will need to fill a form to describe the offered position, and you need to apply for a work permit. Once both forms have been filled in and submitted, the immigration office is obliged to react within two weeks. If you have not received an answer, contact a counselling centre or lawyer. You can also submit an emergency application to the Administrative Court. Here you can find counselling centres in your area.

In principle, you cannot apply for a work permit if:

What is a priority test (Vorrangprüfung)?

Until summer 2016, work permits were granted to people in asylum procedure and the ones with a “Duldung” only if no German or EU citizen had applied for the position ("Vorrangprüfung"). Currently, this regulation has been suspended until August 2019 in almost all federal states of Germany. The priority test ("Vorrangprüfung") is still valid in some regions of Bavaria (e.g. Munich, Augsburg, Nürnberg), in parts of North-Rhine Westphalia (e.g. Dortmund, Bochum, Essen) and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. However, it applies only during the first 15 months of your stay. Afterwards, only the general terms of your contract will be checked but there will be no priority tests.

The priority test is no longer required if you start vocational training or an internship or in case you practice a highly specialised job.

How do I find a job?

The first place to start looking is your local Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”). There you can register as a job seeker and receive assistance and advice. You will also find a job portal there. Other major job portals on the Internet are for example http://www.monster.de/, http://www.stepstone.de/, http://www.jobbörse.de/., and the job market of Make-it-in-Germany.de.

In addition, there are some job portals specific to refugees. Among them are http://www.workeer.de/, http://www.jobs4refugees.de/, http://www.jobbörse.de/refugees, http://www.work-for-refugees.de/, http://www.careers4refugees.de/de/, https://www.welcome2work.de/ and http://www.hire.social/home-en-us/.

On these websites, you can find apprenticeships as well as jobs. On some of them, one can even seek help to fill the application forms. Academics and professionals from Syria can also search for a job at syrvive.

You can find job advertisements in local and national newspapers- they are most often in German and occasionally in English.

There are many counselling centres which provide information about work in Germany. You can arrange for a counselling session in your area, for example, at the youth migration services and adult migration counselling services. The staff there speak various languages.