Relocating to Germany as a developer
German companies are very interested in attracting foreign specialists. According to the Ministry of Economy and Energy, 55% of companies consider the shortage of qualified personnel a risk for their business and IT specialists are among the most demanded.
Income tax rate in Germany is progressive: the more you earn the more you pay. There are six classes of taxpayers based on their income size and family status. Depending on tax class, income tax rate can be between 0% and 45%. As developers usually have rather high salaries, you’d be looking at the higher end of the spectrum.
It is possible to return a part of the paid sum by filing the annual mandatory tax refund report. A significant part of the tax paid can be returned in the first year after the move, as well as after family reunification. If you would like to know the exact sum, you can use the official calculator.
Cost of living
All in all, the cost of living in Germany is fairly reasonable compared to other countries in western Europe, although it is more expensive than Eastern European and some other parts of the world.
If you move to Berlin, you will spend 82 euros per month on a public transport season ticket. A fast Internet connection costs about 30-35 euros per month. Mobile costs about 25-30 euros per month. On average, you should expect to pay 7–12 euros for lunch in a café or restaurant or up to five euros for a sandwich or bakery snack.
Everyone working in Germany is required to have basic German health insurance. The healthcare contribution is 14.6% of income under 62,550 euros per year (in 2020). As a rule, you’ll pay half of this amount and your employer will pay the other half. Deductions from your salary are automatic.
When you find a job in Germany, you are entitled to obtain a temporary residence permit for employment purposes.** **You will not be allowed to start work without first obtaining this document. To get this document, you need to get employment approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA).
The duration of your residence permit is determined by the employment contract you have signed. In case your contract is valid for two years, your residence permit will also be valid for the same period. Additionally, you will be able to extend your permit as many times as you want, as long as your employment status does not change.
If you earn at least 3,588 euros gross and have a higher education degree or three years of relevant work experience, you can apply for a EU Blue Card. With a Blue Card you have the right to work anywhere in the European Union.
Finding a new home
We advise you to search for an apartment in advance because the demand in the rental market is much higher than supply. Software developers usually have priority because of their high and stable income. In everyday life and work English should be enough, but when you are looking for an apartment it is better to ask someone speaking German for assistance.
According to Numbeo, prices for a one-bedroom apartment vary from 550 and 750 euros per month. If you relocate with your family, an average three-bedroom apartment in Berlin would cost about 1,000 euros per month. Additionally you would have to pay about 100-250 euros for utilities.
Bringing your family with you
Spouses and minor children are entitled to accompany you to Germany or to subsequently immigrate to join you using German Family Reunion Visa. Only adequate accommodation and secure livelihood are necessary in this connection.
If you have kids, it is necessary to find a kindergarten or a school for them. It is quite a complicated task because of high demand, so you’d better start searching in advance. The majority of state-owned childcare centers cost an average of 250-400 euros per month, while private centers range between 600 and 900 euros.
Public schools in Germany are free and are a good option for kids to learn the language quickly.The alternative is to send your children to an international school in Germany. Most international schools in Germany have small class sizes, excellent facilities and high educational standards. They tend to have a more multicultural mix of pupils than state schools and teach mainly in English, although some schools are bilingual with German, French, Italian and Spanish the most common non-English languages. Tuition fees vary greatly, the minimum is about 2,000 euros per year.
Germany is an inviting place for expats. It offers you a high standard of living, excellent public transport, healthcare and education systems and it is welcoming to highly-qualified developers.