Traditionally, Bochum's local economy was founded on the industrial sector, with petrochemicals and textile production the two main industries. However, over the last 20 years Bochum has been making the transition to a more balanced economy, and now the service sector is just as important to the city's economic output. As a result of this drive to balance the economy, many large German and multinational corporations have set up offices or headquarters in Bochum, including banks and information technology firms. However, there is still a large industrial presence in Bochum, and many major companies like car manufacturer Adam Opel AG and automobile parts supplier Johnson Controls still have factories located in the city. Expatriates working in Bochum tend to be employed in either the service or industrial sectors, usually in senior, technical, or managerial positions. Bochum has attracted many foreigners in recent years due to the relative strength of its economy during a time of instability for most other European cities.
Whether or not you will need a permit to legally work in Bochum depends on your nationality. Citizens of EU/EEA nations or Switzerland will not need a permit to work in Bochum.
If you are a non-EU citizen, then you will need a work permit, though. Before submitting your application, you must ensure that you have already found work in Bochum, as your prospective employer will need to provide evidence that no German or EU/EEA/Swiss citizen could fill your prospective position. Exceptions to this rule apply for skilled workers and self-employed expats.
Work permits for non-EU citizens must typically be applied for before moving to Bochum via your local embassy or consulate. However, for some country, an application after arrival is also possible. Please refer to our exhaustive article on Getting a Work Permit for Germany for more information.
Every individual working in Bochum will be required by law to pay income tax on their earnings - this applies to German citizens as well as foreigners and expatriates. However, as an expat working in Bochum you may not be required to pay income tax on all of your earnings, depending on your residency status. If you are considered a resident of Germany for tax purposes, which means that you live and work in Bochum for more than 183 days in a year, then you will be required to pay income tax at German rates on your worldwide income. However, if you live and work in Bochum for less than 183 days in a year, then you'll pay income tax at German rates on your German income only.
The income taxation rates for expatriates living and working in Bochum for 2015 are as follows:
In addition, any person living and working in Bochum that is required to pay income tax of over 972 EUR will also pay a 5.5% solidarity charge on top of any income tax payments.
For more information on income taxation, please refer to our in-depth article on Taxes in Germany.