Europe’s biggest economy is very appealing to people looking to do business. However, lots needs to be arranged for those who want to work in Belgium. What are the most important things you need to know? We have listed them.
German work permit
EU citizens qualify for a German residence permit fairly easily. If you meet one of the criteria below, you’re a “Freizügigkeitsberechtigter”, and you can stay for a certain amount of time. You meet the criteria if:
You are an employee, student or looking for work; You are self-employed, practising your profession elsewhere (in The Netherlands) You are self-employed and are starting a larger company in Germany; You are incapacitated for work or retired, with an income and health insurance; You are a marriage partner of someone in Germany.
In these cases, registration with the municipality is sufficient, if you can prove you meet the criteria.
For non-EU citizens, it’s more difficult to make a start in Germany. A good opportunity for highly skilled persons is the “blue card”. This EU-wide arrangement was created for knowledge migrants from countries not party to the Schengen Treaty. There are some criteria for this too:
You must have at least a university or comparable diploma; You must already have an offer for a job in Germany; A minimum gross annual salary of €50,800.
TCP Solutions has a lot of experience in assisting with permits in Germany. The candidate only needs to register, since this is required by law, and we take care of the rest. We will be happy to show the way in all other matters. Read more about this service here.
Taxes in Germany
Some see the German tax system as one of the most complex systems in the world. We will limit ourselves to income tax here. Basically, there are five brackets that you can be in. To provide an idea of the structure:
Nullzone (Grundfreibetrag) | Income lower than €8,820 | 0% tax rate Untere Progressionszone | Income between €8,821 – 13,769 | 14-24% tax rate Obere Progressionszone | Income between €13,770 – 54,057 | 24-42% tax rate 1. Proportionalzone | Income between €54,058 – 256,303 | 42% tax rate 2. Proportionalzone | Income higher than €256.304 | 45% tax rate
In Germany, your civil status has a significant impact, however. Germany permits spouses to add their income together and to submit the tax declaration as a couple. This also doubles the tax-free zone and the income limits. This can be very advantageous in some situations. The amount of tax you will be paying, therefore, depends very much on your situation. It’s recommended to consult an expert for this.
Health insurance in Germany
Health insurance is required by law in Germany. Without insurance, you’re not permitted to work. Basic insurance is offered by the Germany government, which is often required for foreigners. Private insurances also insist, which usually offer more, but not everyone qualifies for these. You are responsible yourself for taking out health insurance in Germany.
States and legislation
Germany is comprised of 16 states. Each of these states is very autonomous. They each have their own legislation, parliaments and governments. There are three types of legislation in Germany: federal legislation (for example, defence, everything regarding the euro), joint legislation (for example, taxes) and state legislation (for example, school and culture). Federal laws have priority. This system makes for quite a few differences between the states.
Living in Germany
The most important thing about any home is the location. Germany is no different in that regard. Depending on where in Germany you want to live, there are huge differences in prices. In the bigger cities, everything is relatively expensive. If you go further into the country, you will soon find more affordable housing, sometimes coming with stretches of land. If you don’t mind travelling a lot, or you can work from home, it’s definitely worth considering.
Germany also has sufficient building land available at an affordable price. The rules for building homes are very reasonable and leave a lot of room for creativity. Building your own dream house is surely an option.
Culture and language in Germany
Germany’s official language is German of course. English is still a challenge for many German, so it’s very much recommended to learn the language.
The German culture is reasonably famous. It’s formal, strict and to the point. Addressing people in an informal manner (using ‘du) is something you definitely shouldn’t do until you have permission to do so. Prepare yourself well for business meetings. Put on your best suit, bring facts, real professional knowledge and not just concepts. Private life and work are strictly separate in Germany.
Good food and drink are very important to Germans. Anyone who has ever eaten in a Germany restaurant will confirm that. Portions are often bigger and taste great. Opportunities are regularly sought to eat and drink together. Of course, currywurst and beer go with that traditionally.
Freelancing in Germany
A legal difference exists between the terms “independent entrepreneur” (Selbstständiger) and “freelancer” (Freiberufler) in Germany. The category your work belongs in is a very specific matter. It becomes difficult if you have a “more recent” profession, of which the activities don’t quite fit in the grid specified by law.
In Germany, a freelancer is a certain type of independent entrepreneur. Certain work, such as that of a teacher, consultant or a lawyer (work that requires an academic education), is categorised as “freelance” in Germany. Slightly different rules apply to freelancers than to independent entrepreneurs. It’s best to examine this per situation and consult an expert for trusted advice.
Certainty with TCP Solutions
With all the above differences in mind, figuring out all the rules regarding work in Germany can be a considerable task.
TCP Solutions has solutions for that. Among other things, by working with our UAG licence, contract management and our legal service, we ensure your compliance with all specific national and regional laws and regulations. This is very important, because many people working abroad aren’t aware of the fact that their employment affairs are poorly arranged. This is almost impossible, because of the many different rules to comply with. However: if you don’t comply, both you and your employer can get a hefty fine. TCP Solutions fully knows the way in 12 countries and ensures you comply with all rules. We even guarantee that we will pay the fine should something not be in order. This way, we relieve you of a major concern.
Whether you’re a freelancer or just want to work for a company, TCP Solutions can help you. Not only in Germany, but in all other countries we’re active in as well. We are an international HR specialist. Do you wish to learn more? Please contact us. Call us on +44 (0) 208 5800 800 or send us a message through our contact page or Quick Contact button on our website on the right-side of the screen.