German for Work
How can I improve my communication in the workplace?
If you would like to continue learning German after the integration course (or any other German course), you may be able to participate in and benefit from an occupational language course. These courses are known as "Deutsch für den Beruf" or "berufsbezogene Deutschsprachförderung". A work-related German course can provide you with the opportunity to gain a foothold in the German job market and improve your qualifications.
What should I know?
Different types of work-related German courses are available in Germany: there are basic modules (where you can improve your general language skills) and special modules (which often focus on specific themes). In the basic modules, you can begin at the B1, B2 or C1 level and study until the C2.
In the special modules, you can, for instance, learn technical terms related to your job. If you have not passed the integration course, you can start these special modules at a lower level (i.e. A1 or A2).
Whether you are allowed to take part in an occupational German language course depends on your residence status.
I have a residence permit: You can participate in an occupational German language course if you have a residence permit and you are registered as unemployed at the Jobcenter or the Federal Employment Agency. Same applies if you are looking for a vocational training programme or are currently going through one, or in case you just had your degree recognised.
Please note: Working migrants and refugees can also take part in an occupational German language course if their language skills are not yet sufficient for their day-to-day work. If that is the case, however, you have to cover part of the costs yourself. You can read more in the section "How much does an occupational German language course cost?".
I have a temporary residence permit ("Aufenthaltgestattung"): If your asylum procedure is ongoing, your right to participate depends on your country of origin or date of entry to Germany:
- If you come from a country with a "good prospect to stay" ("guter Bleibeperspektive"), you can take part in an occupational German language course. According to the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs, currently citizens of the following countries are considered to have a "good perspective to stay": Syria, Eritrea, Somalia & Afghanistan.
- If you come from a "safe country of origin", you are not allowed to take part in an integration course. Currently, the following countries are considered to be safe countries of origin: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal and Serbia.
- For all other countries, the following rule applies: If you came to Germany before 31.07. 2019, and you are registered as a jobseeker at the Federal Employment Agency or in case you work or are going through a vocational training programme or alike; you may take part in an integration course after three months.
I have a tolerated stay permit ("Duldung"): If you have a "Duldung", your right to participate depends on the length of your stay or type of your tolerated stay permit ("Duldung"):
- If you have been having a "Duldung" for six months and are working or have been registered as a jobseeker at the Federal Employment Agency or going through a vocational training programme or alike, you may take part in an occupational German language course.
- If you have an "Ermessensduldung" (according to §60a paragraph 2, sentence 3 of residence law), you are entitled to take part in an occupational German language course without any delay. "Tolerated Stay for the Purpose of Vocational Training" ("Ausbildungsduldung") and "Tolerated Stay for the Purpose of work" ("Beschäftigungsduldung") are, in fact, forms of "Ermessensduldung".
Whether you are allowed to take part in an occupational German language course is decided by the staff member responsible for your case at the Jobcentre or the Federal Employment Agency. If you are permitted to participate, you will receive a "Buildungsgutschein" (roughly: "education voucher") from the Jobcentre or the Federal Employment Agency. Such a voucher enables you to register at a language school in your area. The staff member responsible for your case can tell you which nearby schools offer a "Deutsch für den Beruf" course. You can also search for a class online on the KURSNET website.
If you work as an employee (i.e. you are not registered as unemployed), you can ask your boss if he/she will authorise your participation in an occupational German language course.
If you are registered as unemployed, or are in the recognition process (for the qualifications obtained abroad), or are looking for or doing vocational training and the Jobcentre or the Federal Employment Agency has approved your participation in an occupational German language course, they will also cover the costs for you.
If you are already working and want to take an occupational German language course to improve your skills, you will have to pay half of the costs personally. You can also ask your boss if he/she is willing to cover the costs of your occupational German language course.
If you would like to work as a doctor, pharmacist or therapist in Germany, but have obtained the relevant qualifications abroad, you have to pass a so-called specialist language exam ("Fachsprachprüfung"). It is only after succeeding this exam that you will be permitted to work as a doctor, pharmacist or therapist in Germany. For these occupations, it is worth taking part in a specialist language course for physicians at the C1 level ("Deutschsprachkurs für Ärtze"). The staff member responsible for your case at the Jobcentre or the Federal Employment Agency can help you find such a course nearby.