The EU Blue Card is a very common way for non-EU professionals to get a job and move to Germany. However, nothing is set in stone, and people get fired. What should you do if you lose your job in Germany as a EU Blue Card holder?
You don’t immediately lose your EU Blue Card if you lose or change a job. If your employment contract gets terminated, the EU Blue Card remains valid for three months following the end of the contract, enabling you to find a new job. Alternatively, you can apply for a Job Seeker visa, which will be valid for 6 months.
Each year, the EU Blue Card receives more and more applications in Germany. Only in 2019, around 31,000 EU Blue Cards were issued in Germany alone. Therefore, more people work and live in the country under this residence permit. Read this guide to learn more about the EU Blue Card, as well as the termination and loss of the job while having this residence permit.
Also read how to change jobs on a work permit in Germany.
What happens if you lose a job in Germany while having a EU Blue Card?
Losing a job with a EU Blue Card
Generally, the EU Blue Card is issued for a maximum of four years. If the duration of your employment contract is less than four years, the card will be issued until the end of the contract, plus three months.
If your contract ends before you are eligible for settlement (33 months), you have three months to look for another job and continue to live in Germany.
EU Blue Card is linked to employment. Therefore, it loses its validity when you change or lose your job. So you must notify the immigration office and get their consent when finding a new job.
That said, you lose your job within the first two years of employment, you will have three months to look for another job that suits your qualifications. After finding a new job, you must change the EU Blue Card title according to your new employment.
In case of a job change, you have to notify and obtain consent from the immigration office (Ausländeramt).
1. Report your job loss
According to section 82 subsection 6 of the Residence Act, foreigners are obliged to report the loss of their job to the competent foreigner’s authority (Ausländeramt) as long as they don’t receive a permanent residence permit. In Germany, you can apply for permanent residency after 33 months and 21 months if you speak German well.
Read this guide on how to get permanent residency after EU Blue Card.
You will keep your residence title for at least three months until you find a new job. But it can be revoked by the foreigner’s authority office if they decide so.
Moreover, your employer will also report the end of the work agreement, so the immigration office will set a deadline until it’s valid.
2. Ask for a Fiktionsbescheinigung
The immigration office might give you a Fiktionsbescheinigung (temporary residence card) for up to 6 months. You will need to have valid health insurance coverage for this. Additionally, it helps to show funds on the banking account and get a CV ready.
3. Apply for a Job Seeker visa
You also have an option to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltslaubnis) for a job search that is valid for up to six months. You must get approval from the Federal Employment Agency. Only after that will you be eligible for a residence title with the purpose of the job search.
It will be issued for a maximum of six months. Within this period, you should find a new job and apply for the EU Blue Card. If you fail to do so, you must leave the country.
Keep in mind that with a Job Seeker visa, you aren’t to work somewhere else until you find a suitable job and get a new residence title.
Read all about the Job seeker visa and requirements.
4. Notify your health insurance company
After you lose a job, your health insurance is no longer paid by the employer. You will need to inform your insurance company about this fact and see what options they have for you. Usually, you can take out voluntary coverage for about 180 – 200 EUR per month.
If you inform them, you might end up without the insurance or will owe a percentage of your income to the insurance company.
Find the cheapest insurance coverage.
5. Get a new EU Blue Card
To get a new EU Blue Card, you must have a new work contract on hand. Besides, the job must fulfill a current minimum salary of 56,400 EUR for regular professions and 43,992 EUR for specialists in mathematics, computer science, the natural sciences, engineering, and medicine.
Don’t forget that a job offer must match your qualifications.
How long can you stay after losing a job?
If it’s your first years on EU Blue Card, you can stay up to three months after losing a job. However, EU Blue Card holders can get permanent residency in Germany after only 33 months. So, if you have a permanent residence permit, you can remain without a job in the country as long as you wish.
Besides, if the EU Blue Card holder speaks at least B1 level German, they can apply for a permanent residence permit already after 21 months of living in Germany. Besides, the process of getting a permanent residency is more straightforward than applying for EU Blue Card.
What to do if you were fired during the probation period in Germany?
Quitting a job with EU Blue Card
An employee with an EU Blue Card can also leave the job voluntarily without being fired. What rules apply in that case?
If you decide to quit the job, you must inform an immigration office because you will need their approval when you get another employment opportunity. After you have had an EU Blue Card for 33 months, you aren’t longer required to report changes to your employers.
That said, you can easily leave one and get another job. Moreover, your EU Blue Card won’t lose validity after 3 months if you have had an EU Blue Card for 33 months. By that time, you will receive a German settlement permit that will give you a lot of freedom.
Unemployment benefits for EU Blue Card holders
After losing a job in Germany, you might be able to get unemployment benefits (ALG 1) if you have paid contributions for a long enough time. However, the unemployment benefit ALG 2 is less accessible for foreigners.
With ALG 1, you receive 60% (67% if you have children) of your previous salary in the last 12 months.
Factors that help you to receive unemployment benefits in Germany:
- You have been employed in Germany for at least 12 months.
- You are registered at the Arbeitsagentur.
- Your visa is non-employer-dependent.
However, if you quit your job instead, you won’t be able to receive unemployment benefits for the first 3 months. Therefore, holders of EU Blue Cards who leave their job voluntarily won’t have any opportunity to get unemployment benefits.
Read more about unemployment benefits when quitting a job in Germany.
Changing jobs in Germany while on EU Blue Card
Holders of EU Blue Card can also change a job while working in Germany. Nothing is set in stone; you can find another job if you don’t like the current one anymore.
According to immigration law, in the first two years of employment, a job change requires permission from an immigration office. They will prove all requirements and give you the green light if all are met. The minimum gross salary and the position must match the criteria.
For example, you can only take on a job that suits your qualifications. Also, if the minimum gross salary has increased in the meantime, you need a higher salary to get approval.
Moreover, if your new employer is based in another EU country, you can only change to that job after 18 months of continuous employment in Germany.
Read the in-depth guide on changing a job while on a work permit in Germany.