Return to Germany

By | September 28, 2021

There are many reasons for a return to the old homeland, for example the death of a spouse, accident, fraud, bankruptcy, language difficulties, cultural problems, unemployment, children’s education, family help or simply homesickness. And there’s no shame in taking that step at all. Fortunately, there are many opportunities for a return and a successful new start. This page gives a first overview. More details on the following pages.

In the following overview you can see the percentage more Germans who officially returned to Germany from different countries in the last 10 years than emigrated to Germany. A total of 1,243,498 from all over the world officially returned to their old homeland between 2008 and 2017, Germans, no foreigners, mind you (although these figures also include all Germans born abroad who immigrated to Germany)!

Where to get help

Individuals seeking advice can obtain information brochures from the advice centers for emigrants and foreign workers of non-profit charities or from the General Secretariat of the Raphaels-Werk for a nominal fee.

For example, what advice can you get from the Raphaels factory:

  • Living and working conditions in Germany
  • Nationality and right of residence of you and your family
  • Job search, application and recognition of professional qualifications in Germany
  • Social benefits and unemployment benefits
  • Health, pension, unemployment and occupational accident insurance
  • Taxes, Cost of Living, and Housing
  • Preparing to return to Germany
  • Mediation of contacts in Germany
  • personal questions

If, for example, as a descendant of Germans or as a foreigner by marriage, you do not speak sufficient German, you should definitely learn some German beforehand.

Where will you live and work?

Often you return to or close to your family, relatives or friends. The difficulty is often that landlords require Schufa information or proof of monthly income. It is therefore advisable for many to rent a furnished apartment or a temporary holiday accommodation until you can provide all the necessary documents for a normal rental agreement (overview of holiday accommodation in Germany). This means that you immediately have an official registration address, which is necessary or useful, for example, to open a bank account and for other things.

If you still have to work, it might also be a good idea to move to an area where your labor is sought or where unemployment is the lowest (since in most cases you have to start from scratch anyway) or there are other desired advantages. In the following overview you can see the level of unemployment in all regions of Germany as of October 2020.

These statistics do not take into account, for example, all participants in labor market policy measures, the sick unemployed, the unemployed in further training or the unemployed whose services have been sanctioned. The annual average of the official unemployment rate in 2020 was 5.9 percent. The unemployment rate determined by the Federal Statistical Office according to the ILO employment concept was 4.4 percent in November 2020.

There are some portals on the Internet on which job vacancies are advertised or on which you can also register as a job seeker. Below are some recommended portals with links:

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You can also think about another possibility: Since you have to start from scratch anyway, you could move to another German-speaking European country, where the job market is even better than in Germany. For example, the unemployment rate in some cantons in Switzerland is only around 1%!

Unemployment benefit in Germany

Not every returnees are entitled to unemployment benefits. There are numerous requirements that must be met and these depend on the following criteria:

  • How long did the stay abroad last?
  • Was the activity abroad subject to social security?
  • How long did you previously work in Germany?

There are also some exceptions. Therefore, you should always contact the responsible employment office and register there as soon as you return to Germany as unemployed. To do this, however, you must have a permanent address in Germany and be in possession of a valid German ID card. Returnees must present their new address to the residents’ registration office. You can only register as unemployed in Germany with this registration certificate. Other requirements often apply to cross-border commuters.

Benefit entitlements in Germany

If you have received unemployment insurance benefits in the country of emigration (countries of the EU, EEA, Switzerland), these may possibly be taken with you to Germany. To do this, submit an application to the foreign labor administration. Furthermore, you must have received unemployment benefits four weeks before departure and you should prove that there is currently no suitable job offer. In addition, it is important that it can be demonstrated that a job placement abroad is not to be expected in the near future, as, for example, the situation on the labor market is bad.

In order to be able to take benefits with you to Germany, you need form E303. This is available from the employment agency in Germany and abroad. The completed sheet must be presented to the labor administration in the country of emigration. This should be done at least four weeks in advance so that payment of the benefits can also be guaranteed in Germany. There is a period of three months for the payment of this service. Further information can be found on the EURESinformation portal.

Health insurance

Returnees almost automatically lose their insurance cover when they change their registration. So that there are no supply problems, it is best to contact a German health insurance company before your return. Contact your old health insurance company. You will probably still know them and may still be very familiar with your needs. You can also get advice on long-term care insurance here. The application for insurance must always be re-submitted. If you were privately insured before you emigrated, you cannot be insured with the statutory health insurance. In this case you have to register with a private health insurance company again.

If you are only visiting Germany or within the Schengen states, it is sufficient to take out inexpensive travel insurance, such as with Hanse Merkur.

Pension insurance

It is important that you report back to your pension insurance. The times worked abroad are usually taken into account by the German Pension Insurance. However, there are restrictions here and various documents must be submitted. You can find out whether and how much of the claims can be taken into account on the website of the German Pension Insurance.

Real estate – buy or rent

As a returnee you have the advantage that you can choose a property (to buy or rent) carefully and avoid mistakes from the outset. The advice of an experienced real estate agency can be of great help. Below we present a recommendable company.

With experience since 2007 in the real estate sector Immobilien Lindstedt Management GmbH & Co.KG guarantees its customers a professional and personalized service. Great emphasis is placed on optimal customer service and on quality instead of quantity. The unique, innovative concept with an “all-round carefree” package is very popular with customers (in Germany and in 20 other hotspots worldwide).

E-Mail: [email protected]
Tel. In Germany: 0170/388 46 34

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Return to Germany