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Is it a good option to move to Germany on Job Seeker visa with basic knowledge of German language?

Updated: May 11, 2020

Absolutely NOT.

Just recently, Arun came across a post on a group on Facebook where an Indian holding a JSV shared his experience. Summary of his post :

  • Unless you are coming to Germany with B2 (preferably C1), in a non IT role, be aware that its almost futile. Even if the company HR and Hiring Manager speaks to you in English, most of the team and the employees are German. Due to this, lack of German language will become a deciding factor in your hiring decision (irrespective of the quality of your technical skills)

To clarify : This person is supply chain professional. He has worked for some of the biggest FMCG and automotive companies in the world in US, before relocating to Germany.

  • Another friend of Arun's is in German on a JSV. He has an IT background, which is relatively generalist. He has been in Germany from Nov,2019 and is looking for a job since. His wife in enrolled as a student in the city where they are based and have a 3 yr old kid. Although, I have been helping him since the time he is in Germany, the lack of German language is a definite consideration. He came to Germany with A2 level and is now taking classes for B1 level.

  • Arun interacted with an Indian finance professional recently. Though having extensive work experience in India, the lack of German language is a wall when it comes to finding jobs. The spouse is in IT role and hence, they are settled (in a way). Finding an entry position just so that you can work, after >5yr experience is not a career. It is a compromise.

Useful read :

The above are not Arun's observations but facts. No matter what a “consultant” in India or your home country tells you, language is a big factor and consideration. More so if you have a non IT profile. Not only is the language important in your professional life, but also in your personal and social life.

Note : Be aware that while there are English speaking jobs in Germany, they are probably 5% - 10% (optimistically) of the total market. All the expats (from EU, US, UK, Australia and Asians) are competing for these small % of jobs. Ironically, this is happening while there is a serious lack of qualified and experience professionals for the remaining German language openings.

If you are planning a life/career in Germany, learn German seriously BEFORE moving here.

Impact of Corona Virus (Covid 19) situation

In the past few days, there has been a global slowdown in all of the economies, due to the growing pandemic of Corona virus (Covid 19). While the focus of the world right now is on the unfortunate impact of this disease (confirmed cases and deaths), there will be a long term economic impact.

All of the annual 2020 business planning done by companies useless now. Based on spread of the pandemic and the measures taken, it seems like the first half of this year will be a complete whitewash for the businesses. Just in the initial phase, the unemployment claims in US jumped from ~200,000 (~200k) to more than 3,300,000 (3.3 Mn) in a matter of weeks (US unemployment sky rockets). As per the Washington Post article, there can be as many as 40,000,000 (40 Mn) unemployed in US by April, 2020. This is about 13% of the total US population. Compared to the scale of this, the 2008 financial crisis was insignificant and it took couple of years for the economies to recover from it. The road to recovery after this pandemic is going to be long and painful (professionally and emotionally).

The worst hit are the BEACH industries: Bars, Entertainment, Aviation, Cafes and restaurants and Hotels. A report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that about 50,000,000 (50 Mn) jobs will be lost in the global travel and tourism industry. (Impact of Corona on global tourism). The predicted loss of jobs is assumed to be distributed as follows :

  • 30,000,000 (30 Mn) in Asia,

  • 7,000,000 (7 Mn) in Europe,

  • 5,000,000 (5 Mn) in US and

  • remaining across the rest.

In Germany, most of the major manufacturers have shutdown production owing to lack of demand. Germany is second only to US in hosting global trade shows, which are all cancelled now. This means that the orders/deals expected to come through from such events are gone now. The small firms building up stalls and providing equipment are hard hit and seeking federal financial assistance.

Some of the cases CDG has come across in Germany recently :

  • Full time job offer have been withdrawn for a friend of Arun's,

  • Another full time job offer has been changed into "Kurzarbeit", meaning reducing the working hours from 40 hours per week to xx hours per week. This means, that the salary is adjusted as per the reduced working hours,

  • An internship offer has been cancelled by a leading German consultancy,

CDG's observation : Given the current situation and with no clear end in sight for this pandemic, the best option right now will be to stay put. Corona virus (Covid 19) situation is impacting all the economy. This will be possibly the worst time to think of a job/career change. More so, in case one has liabilities of loans and mortgages.

CDG's suggestion on how to best ride out this storm is by :

  • building up on the domain experience and skill set,

  • enhance the qualifications by using online education academies,

  • learning German language (irrespective of the profile), to build up a better CV,

  • creating a professional network which can assist you in the future,

  • building up a social media presence to position yourself as the SME (subject matter expert) in your domain,

  • leveraging online tools (for meeting, research and mentoring) to plan a clear roadmap for future career.

All of the above is based on the unfortunate situation the world is facing now. How economies will turn evolve after Covid19 is anybody's guess. The best way to prepare for the future is to be patient, stay safe and prepare yourself to the best of one's abilities. Use this time to learn what really interests you.

Focus on learning, earning will follow.

Best wishes from the team at CDG and stay safe in this unpredictable times.

It always helps to have a mentor, who has worked and lived in Germany for some of the best brands. For personal consultation with Arun Mahajan, book a time with him.

Not for Reproduction without authorisation.

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