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Why are South Africans immigrating to Germany? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that many are of German descent, and there’s much to love about living and working in Germany as a South African. Let’s take a look at what you need to know before immigrating to Germany from South Africa.

How many South Africans are there in Germany?

Just over 6000 South Africans have relocated to Germany, according to Destatis, Germany’s official statistical office. Why are they there? It’s all down to Germany’s growing economy, stable education system and abundant employment opportunities. It’s not just South Africans looking to immigrate to Germany, people from all over the world would jump at the chance.

Immigrating to germany: General Requirements for South African

  • You’ll need to prove financial stability
  • You’ll need to have health insurance
  • You must have at least basic proficiency in German (there’s a test!)
  • A Standard Residence Permit
  • A European Union (EU) Blue Card
  • A Settlement Permit or Permanent Residence Permit.

There are a number of ways to immigrate to Germany:

  • For employment
  • For education
  • For entrepreneurs
  • For family reunions
  • Via residence permits

To be eligible to immigrate to Germany, you must fulfill the following criteria:

Prove financial stability

Whether you’re getting in for work, education or family, each immigration gateway has a different financial threshold that must be met. This means you’ll have to prove you’re self-sufficient when it comes to money and even if you’re going to be working in Germany, you’ll need to show you have sufficient money to cover expenses until you get your first salary.

Have health insurance

You will not be permitted to immigrate to Germany without a valid health insurance cover. It’s a good idea to get German health insurance, because not all German authorities will accept foreign health cover. Have at least a basic command of German

It stands to reason that to live and function in Germany, you’ll need to know German. You’ll need to be able to communicate with people around you, in order to work with them, or find the things you’re looking for at the grocery store. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages has three grades of language proficiency, A, B and C. These levels each have three parts. Each one has two parts. So, the language proficiency is divided in A1/A2 or basic, B1/B2 or proficient in the language, and C1/C2 or advanced language skills.

To be allowed to immigrate to Germany, you will need to take the exams and pass them up to either A1 or B1. Permanent residence requires a higher proficiency of C1 or C2.

Okay, so what about visas to Germany?

Under the Schengen agreement, you’ll need to apply for a Schengen visa to get in. This means if you want to immigrate to Germany from South Africa on a permanent basis, you’ll need a visa along with a means of living. In other words, you’ll need money and a job.  Here are the Schengen visa requirements for your application:

  • Schengen visa application form
  • Original and copy of your SA passport
  • Two colour photographs
  • Proof of employment

There are three short term visas that will let you access Germany: a single-entry visa, double-entry, and multiple-entry. All of them will let you stay in Germany for up to 90 days. However, if you are planning on living in Germany for a longer period, then you may need help from your employer or university to apply for a long-term visa. Get more info on the Schengen Visa website.

What do you need to know about working in Germany as a South African?

Germany currently has a massive shortage of skilled workers and qualified professionals, so they’re always on the hunt for engineers, ICT professionals, healthcare workers, and other highly skilled individuals. To attract such skills to Germany, their immigration authorities have made it easier for people to get to Germany and work. This means that immigration to Germany through finding a job in the country is a route that is in top demand.

If you want to move to Germany to work, you’ll need to –

  • Find a job in Germany at a company that accepts foreign nationals
  • Then apply for your Germany Working (employment) Visa
  • Move to Germany and get your working residence permit

Gaining a residence permit for working in Germany as a South African, both you the employee, and your employer will be required to prove – 

  • There was a shortage of potential candidates from Germany or the EU so your position had to be filled externally.
  • That you, the employee, will have the same conditions as any other German employee in terms of salary and working environment.
  • That you meet all educational and work experience requirements for the job position.
  • That the company hiring you has met all administrative requirements (registration documents and certification).

With Germany having a higher average monthly income than South Africa, it’s hardly surprising that Germany is attractive to many South Africans, despite the cost of living being slightly higher. Plus the fact that primary and secondary education is free, makes it an exceptionally attractive relocation choice for South Africans.

FinGlobal: For South Africans, everywhere

Whether you’re looking to immigrate to Germany to reunite with your family, or you’re looking to expand your career horizons; choosing the right financial services partner back home can make a huge difference for your future.

FinGlobal has been helping South Africans make big international money moves since 2010. We’ve helped more than 60 000 clients with their cross-border financial portfolios, providing invaluable assistance in financial emigration, retirement annuity withdrawal, pension income, foreign exchange, tax exits and so much more.

For all those questions about how to manage your financial affairs as a South African living and working in Germany, there’s a FinGlobal expert waiting to answer them. All it takes is a free, no-obligation financial emigration assessment to get started. Leave your contact details and we’ll call you back.