Darmstadt's local economy is founded on two main sectors: industry, and research and development. Darmstadt has historically been an industrial city, and today is one of the leading cities in Germany for chemical engineering, chemical research, and the pharmaceutical industry, with plants of major companies like Schenck RoTec and Merck located in the city.
Although the chemical-industrial sector is linked with research and development, the main research and development carried out in the city is related to software and information technology, which is the city's second largest employer. This research is based at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, which is internationally renowned in the field of computer science. There is also a large service sector in Darmstadt and a large American military presence, both of which are major employers.
Whether or not you require a work permit for Darmstadt will depend on your country of origin. Although Germany is a full member of the European Union, it has placed some work restrictions on citizens of new member states and some Eastern European countries. This means that while most EU nationals will not require a permit to legally work in Darmstadt, some will, so it's best to check with your embassy or consulate first.
Those EU nationals restricted by German law and all non-EU nationals will need to apply for a permit to work in Darmstadt. In order to obtain a work permit, you must have already secured work in Darmstadt, as your prospective employer will play a role in your application. Your prospective employer will be required to demonstrate that no German or EU/EEA/Swiss national can fill your prospective role in order for the immigration authorities to grant you a work permit. Work permits are usually temporary and can be renewed on expiry.
Expatriates working in Darmstadt will be required by law to pay tax on their income. Like many other nations, Germany has different income tax laws for residents and non-residents. Residents, defined for tax purposes as expatriates that live in Darmstadt for 183 days a year or more, will be required to pay income tax at German rates on their worldwide income. Non-residents are only required to pay income tax at German rates on their German income.
Like many other European countries, Germany's income tax system works on a progressive sliding scale, which means that your total earnings will determine how much income tax you will be required to pay. The income taxation rates for expatriates, foreigners, and German citizens working in Darmstadt in 2015 are:
Expatriates earning under 8,355 EUR are not required to pay income tax. Expatriates in the top income tax brackets are also required to pay an extra 'solidarity' surcharge on top of their income tax, which amounts to 5.5%. This is applicable for all people that are required to pay more than 972 EUR in income tax for the fiscal year.