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Practical Tips for Living in Germany

Success through vocational training and language skills

Especially people with a professional qualification and with profound knowledge of the German language get a good job with an above-average pay. Everyone who comes to Germany without a vocational training has currently good chances to find a training position. Many German companies are urgently looking for trainees, because of the decreasing number of school leavers, due to lower birth rates and an increasing number of people who prefer to study after school, instead of doing a vocational training. It is therefore worthwhile to accept the low paid training period of three years to acquire good German language skills in the meantime. The chances of finding and retaining a good working place with good pay, are much higher this way. Without training, as an unskilled worker, you get fewer wages and have less security.

To feel at home through integration

People feel at home, when they are in contact with the locals. One way to get in touch could be your children for example: at parents’ evenings in kindergarten and at school, you will get to know the parents of other children; you can also volunteer at events and festivities. Furthermore there exist a lot of clubs in Germany, in which you can become a member, in a sports club for instance.  Other ways to get in touch with locals could be to voluntarily engage with the volunteer fire department or to take a course at an Adult Education Centre (“Volkshochschule”).

To tax additional income

If you want to earn some money in addition to your salary, you can register a business. You have to declare the additional revenue at the tax office, so they can impose the tax on it.

To reduce the income tax by specifying costs

The tax system in Germany stipulates that you, as an employee, can assert certain expenses at the tax office. If you support some family members in your home country for example, your taxable income will be reduced and on application you will be refunded already paid income tax. This procedure is called “Lohnsteuerjahresausgleich” (annual adjustment of income tax).

Difficult: affordable living space

A major challenge, especially in metropolitan areas, is finding affordable housing. It can very easily happen that more than half of your net wage is spent on housing rents and incidentals! For this reason, please inform yourself beforehand how high the rents are at the place where you would like to live.

Beware of a debt trap!

A big danger in Germany is the over-indebtedness. In order not to fall into the "debt trap", you can, for example, open a checking account, which you cannot overdraw. This means, you can only withdraw as much money as is actually on your account. This way you also avoid paying high interest rates for so-called "overdrafts” (Überziehungskredite).

Are you looking for advice on these topics?
The Diakonie project team will help you to get in contact with suitable counseling centers in your future place of residence!