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Working in Heidelberg?

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Heidelberg at a Glance

Working in Heidelberg

Heidelberg’s economy is based on different industries: high-tech, wind energy, aerospace, teaching — there are plenty of job offers for expats they can find online or in newspapers. If you are thinking to work in Heidelberg, read our guide to get to know more about it!

Local Economy

Heidelberg's two main economic sectors are services and industry, accounting for 82% and 18% of economic output respectively. In the services sector, the main employer is tourism, which has historically been the largest part of the city's economy. Heidelberg is known as a "romantic town" in Germany, and this status helps to draw over 3 million visitors to the city every year, with many events and attractions put to encourage tourists to visit. Many tourists come from other German cities, France, and Italy. Heidelberg's largest industry is stationery, and it is home to the headquarters of some of the world's major stationery manufacturers, including Lamy Pens. Other notable large companies working in Heidelberg include Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, a mechanical engineering company; drinks manufacturer Capri-Sun; and SAP SE, a multinational software corporation (located closer to Mannheim, but many expats living in Heidelberg work there). Expatriates working in Heidelberg tend to do so in the services sector or as English teachers.

Work Permits for Heidelberg

As Germany is a member of the European Union, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens will not need a permit to work in Heidelberg. Nonetheless, if they wish to stay and work in Heidelberg for more than 90 days, then they must apply for a work permit. However, citizens of new EU member states and some Eastern European countries will need a permit to work in Heidelberg, as will all citizens of non-EU/EEA countries. Obtaining a work permit in Heidelberg can be difficult, as Germany has put strict rules in place to protect its economy. You must have already secured work in Heidelberg and your employer must prove that the work cannot be done by a German or EU/EEA citizen before the permit can be granted. Work permits are temporary, and will need to be renewed.

For more information, you can read our Extended Guide on Work Permits for Germany.

Income Taxation in Heidelberg

Expatriates living and working in Heidelberg will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. Germany has a progressive, sliding scale tax system, whereby your total earnings determine the amount of income tax pay. The rates of income for expatriates working in Heidelberg for 2015 are as follows:

Expatriates earning less than 8,354 EUR (or 16,708 EUR for jointly assessed married couples) are not required to pay income tax. However, expatriates should also be aware that there is an extra solidarity tax levied on top of income tax for the highest earners. If you are paying more than 972 EUR (or 1,944 EUR for married couples) of income tax, you will be charged an extra 5.5% of your income as tax. If you live in Germany for more than 183 days in a year, you will pay income tax at these rates on your worldwide income; if you live in Germany for less than 183 days, you will pay income tax at these rates on your German income only.

InterNations Expat Magazine