Why do you need to register at the employment office (Arbeitsamt / Agentur für Arbeit) in Germany, especially when you move?


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As a foreigner in Germany, you are also entitled to financial support in case you lose your job. Find out why it’s important to register at the employment office in Germany (Arbeitsamt / Agentur für Arbeit) especially when you move apartments

Register at the employment office in 2022: If you meet the requirements, you can receive certain financial aid in case you lose your job in Germany. Find out about unemployment benefits, child benefits, child allowance, parental benefits, and other financial aid for people from abroad.

employment office in Germany

Who can get unemployment benefits?

If you have lost your job, you can receive unemployment benefits under certain conditions. To do this, you must belong to one of these groups:

  1. You are from the European Union (EU), a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
  2. You have a valid settlement or residence permit that allows you to work in Germany.

You must also meet the following requirements for unemployment benefit.

When you are entitled to unemployment benefits in Germany?

The main requirements for entitlement to unemployment benefit are as follows:

  • You fulfill the qualifying period. This usually means that you were employed for at least 12 months in the 30 months before registering as unemployed. Several jobs can be added together.
  • You have registered as unemployed with your employment agency.
  • You are unemployed, but you can work in a job that is subject to compulsory insurance (at least 15 hours per week).
  • You are looking for employment that is subject to compulsory insurance and you are working together with the employment agency.
employment office in Germany

Claiming unemployment benefits in special cases

In addition to employment that is subject to compulsory insurance, other times can be included in the entitlement to unemployment benefit. Examples:

  • You were voluntarily in unemployment insurance, for example, while self-employed.
  • You raised a child (up to the age of 3).
  • You have received sick pay.
  • You have done voluntary military service, federal voluntary service, or youth voluntary service.

You were employed by an agency of the European Union and, at your request, payments were made to German unemployment insurance. If you have any questions, please contact your European employer.

In these cases, too, you must have a duration of at least 12 months within 30 months before registering as unemployed (technical term: qualifying period).

Entitlement to temporary employment

If you were often in temporary employment, a shorter entitlement period applies under certain conditions: then at least 6 months of employment subject to compulsory insurance in the 30 months before registering as unemployed is sufficient. One of the requirements is that most jobs were limited to up to 14 weeks.

Important reminder incase you move apartments

Do you receive benefits from the employment office? If so, you must notify your responsible employment agency of your new address at least one week before you move. Otherwise you risk losing your entitlement to unemployment benefits.

employment office in Germany

Why do you have to register with the employment office in Germany immediately?

You must always be available for your responsible office – this also applies in particular if you move. Even with a postal forwarding request, this circumstance cannot be solved. This is because your mail can also be delivered with a delay. As a result, you are considered unavailable by your authority.

If you fail to notify us of your move in good time, the social benefits of the employment office may be discontinued. At the same time, this means that you may no longer have health, nursing care, pension or accident insurance. Unemployment benefit received could also be reclaimed.

In the event that you do not report your move within one week before your move date, unemployment benefit payments will be suspended until you have reported to your office.

If the employment office does not receive any feedback from you for more than six weeks, your unemployment registration will become invalid.

How does the re-registration at the employment office work?

You have two options to when informing the employment office that your address has changed:

  1. Online registration on the website of the Federal Employment Agency
  2. Change notification form

If you want to register online, you must first register and then you can enter your details in a personal area.

You will receive the “Change notification” form from the employment office when you register as unemployed. But you can also request it or download it.

employment office in Germany

The right employment office after moving to a new place

If another employment agency is responsible for you after you move, you must contact them to ensure that you receive benefits on an ongoing basis. The authority now responsible for you will invite you to report.

It is important that you are permanently available to the placement efforts of the Employment Agency within the scope of your ability to work.

Do you also have to register if you do not receive benefits?

Even if you are looking for work but are not receiving wage replacement benefits, you are obliged to notify the employment office of your change of address in good time. You have to report to your employment agency if you are moving house or if you are generally absent. This ensures that mediation efforts can continue seamlessly.

How much unemployment benefits do you get in Germany?

This is how unemployment benefit is calculated (simplified):

The calculation is based on your gross wages (salary) over the past 12 months. This amount is divided by the number of days in the year, i.e. 365. The result is your  gross daily earnings.

The income tax, the solidarity surcharge and a lump sum for social security of 20 percent are deducted from this. (These deductions are for calculation purposes only and are not actually deducted.) The result is your  net earnings per day.

60 percent of this net wage is the amount that you receive as unemployment benefit per day. It increases to  67 percent if you or your spouse/partner have one or more children.

How long you will receive unemployment benefits

For how long you receive unemployment benefit depends on 2 factors:

  • how long  you were subject to compulsory insurance, for example in the form of employment subject to compulsory insurance, and
  • how old  you are

As a rule, the periods subject to compulsory insurance must be within the last 5 years. Several insurance periods can be added together.

Any unemployed person under the age of 50

If you are younger than 50, you can receive unemployment benefit for a maximum of 12 months  – provided you were previously insured for 24 months or more.

Another example: If you were subject to compulsory insurance for the minimum period of 12 months, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to 6 months.

Any unemployed persons aged 50 and over

From the age of 50, the period of entitlement increases in several steps up to 24 months . This maximum entitlement period applies to unemployed persons who are 58 years of age or older. Prerequisite: You were subject to compulsory insurance for 48 months or more.

Reference period for temporary employment

 If you meet the requirements for the  shorter qualifying period, the following applies: if you have 8 months of compulsory insurance, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to 4 months .


Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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