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Frequently asked questions for Ukrainian refugees.

Here you will find frequently asked questions about labour and social benefits in Germany.

1.Support when looking for and starting a job

1.1 Who can provide support if I am looking for a job?

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) helps people to find a job and provides advice on all related issues.

Local employment agencies (Agentur für Arbeit) can be found in many towns and cities, and can be recognised from this logo

Local employment agencies (Agentur für Arbeit) can be found in many towns and cities, and can be recognised from this logo . If you have questions, please contact the local employment agency in the place where you are currently staying. You can find the address by using the "Find Office" search option (Dienststellensuche) on the Federal Employment Agency’s website.

You can call the Federal Employment Agency’s hotline on +49 911 178 7915 to ask initial questions in Ukrainian or Russian about getting a job, beginning vocational training or starting to study at university. You can contact the hotline from 8.00 to 16.00 hrs from Monday to Thursday, and 8.00 to 13.00 hrs on Fridays.

The Federal Employment Agency will subsequently advise you, during a personal interview, about the conditions for getting a job and your general professional options.

If you have applied for money at a job centre, you will receive advice on issues relating to finding a job, placement and qualifications. The job centre can support you in achieving your professional goals with activation and integration services. Please contact your adviser to discuss what support and assistance is possible and necessary. You can apply for financial support (such as application costs) directly during the counselling interview by filling out a paper application or using the online procedure. Please find out whether your job centre has JOBCENTER.DIGITAL II or whether the online application can be submitted using another digital procedure.

An overview of the electronic services offered by the Federal Employment Agency and job centres (joint institutions) is available at the following link:

https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/eservices

The overview covers online (application) procedures of the Federal Employment Agency and job centres (joint institutions) in the following areas:

  • Cash benefits from the Federal Employment Agency and job centres (joint institutions)
  • Cash benefits from the family benefits office
  • Job search
  • Career and study options.

1.2 Where can I get help if I still need to acquire certain skills before getting a job?

Your employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) will discuss with you, based on your qualifications and professional experience, which measures may be most useful in helping you to find a suitable job.

If you have questions, please contact the local employment agency in the place where you are currently staying. You can find the address by using the “Find Office” search option here (Dienststellensuche).

Alternatively, please contact the hotline of the Federal Employment Agency at +49 911-178 7915. You can get help there in Ukrainian or Russian.

If you have applied for money at a job centre, you will receive advice on issues relating to finding a job, placement and qualifications. The job centre can support you in achieving your professional goals with activation and integration services. Please contact your adviser to discuss what support and assistance is possible and necessary.

2. Labour law (Arbeitsrecht)

2.1 Am I allowed to work in Germany?

Yes, if you have a residence permit under Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). Residence permits under Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act that are valid on 1 February 2024 will remain valid until 4 March 2025 without being extended individually. This means that you will continue to have unrestricted access to the labour market and training system.

As soon as a provisional residence document is issued in accordance with Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act, you are entitled to work. This document issued by the foreigners authority must contain the text "gainful employment permitted" (“Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”). You can then undertake, in principle, any kind of employment in Germany or begin vocational training. Please note that there are access restrictions for some professions under professional law (e.g. doctors, teachers, educators; more information can be found at question 2.2). You can also work for a temporary agency.

You are also able to start your own business or work as a freelancer. Every industry has specific requirements that need to be taken into account when starting a business. These may include professional law regulations, special licences and insurance law issues.

If you meet the requirements, you can also apply for a (different) residence permit for the purpose of employment or training at the local foreigners authority. For example, a residence permit under Section 16 (a) of the Residence Act may be possible if vocational training is being undertaken, or a residence permit under Section 18 (a) of the Residence Act for skilled workers who have completed vocational training qualifications, or Section 18 (b) of the Residence Act for skilled workers with university degrees.

2.2 Do my professional qualifications have to be recognised for me to be allowed to work?

If you want to work in your trained profession in Germany, recognition of your professional qualification acquired outside Germany is only required for regulated professions, (information in German and English). This includes, for example, the professions of doctor, architect or teacher.

You can work in non-regulated professions without having your qualifications recognised. The state has not established any requirements for entering these professions. Recognition of your professional qualifications or an evaluation of the qualification certificates can still be helpful in finding a job that matches your skills and is paid in line with your qualifications.

The employment agency or job centre responsible for you (see Chapter 3) can give you some initial advice and information about the recognition procedure.

Further free, impartial advice on the recognition of your foreign qualifications can be obtained from the counselling centres of the funding programme “IQ Integration through Qualification”. You can find the nearest counselling centre here: www.netzwerk-iq.de. The counselling centres also support you in your search for a qualification measure if the recognition procedure shows that there is only partial equivalence of your qualification.

Further information on having professional qualifications recognised can be found online on the website www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. Information on the recognition procedure can be found in this flyer.

Information about evaluation of a university degree is available (in Ukrainian) from the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB).

2.3 Am I allowed to undertake in-company vocational training in Germany?

Yes, if you have a residence permit under Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). You are entitled to do so as soon as you have been issued a provisional residence document. This document issued by the foreigners authority must contain the text “gainful employment permitted” (“Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”). This then also includes permission to take up in-company training. Please note: Your residence permit is valid for a shorter period than the length of the vocational training programme. Nonetheless, you can conclude a training contract and it can be officially recorded as a training relationship.

Your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) can help you with career orientation and advise you on choosing and finding a vocational training programme (cf. Chapter 3). If you are registered with a jobcentre, it can help you to find a vocational training place and offer you targeted support before and during your vocational training programme. In addition, the Federal Employment Agency can help you with the cost of living via the vocational training grant (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe). This is also possible during a prior pre-vocational training programme. You can find further information from the Federal Employment Agency about vocational training here.

You can also attend a job-related language course before or during in-company vocational training. Further information and application form in German can be found here.

Later – if the requirement are met – you can also apply for a residence permit for the purpose of vocational training (Section 16a of the Residence Act) from the foreigners authority. As part of this process, the Federal Employment Agency carries out a labour-market priority test (Vorrangprüfung), but normally there will not be a suitable, preferential candidate available, given that it is a matter of continuing an existing training relationship. This will enable you to complete the in-company vocational training programme and subsequently apply to the foreigners authority for a residence permit as a skilled worker (Section 18a of the Residence Act). With the entry into force of the Ordinance on the Further Development of Skilled Immigration, the labour-market priority test will no longer apply to in-company vocational training from 1 March 2024.

2.4 Is there a general minimum wage in Germany, and how high is it?

Yes. There is a general statutory minimum wage in Germany. From 1 January 2024 the gross minimum wage is 12.41 euros per hour.

The minimum wage generally also applies to internships, except for mandatory internships as well as voluntary internships accompanying professional training or studies and orientation internships of up to three months’ duration.

In addition, sector-specific minimum wages exist in some sectors. They apply only in the sector in question, for example in the care sector or building cleaning. A list of industry-specific minimum wages can be found here in German [PDF, 134KB].

Compliance with the minimum wage and der industry-specific minimum wages is supervised by Finanzkontrolle Schwarzarbeit [Financial Control of Undeclared Employment], which is part of the German Customs Service.

2.5 Does the minimum wage apply to me?

Yes, the general minimum wage applies to all workers. There are only exceptions for those under 18 years of age who have not completed vocational training and for those who had been unemployed for a long time in the first six months of employment.

2.6 How long am I allowed to work per day?

In general, you are not allowed to work for more than eight hours per day from Monday to Saturday. However, an extension of the working day to up to ten hours is possible if you do not exceed eight hours per working day on average within half a year. In addition, exceptions are permitted in certain sectors. There must be a break of at least 11 hours between the end of work on one day and the start of work on the following day.

2.7 What do I have to pay attention to if I take a so-called “mini-job”?

If you receive regular monthly remuneration that does not exceed a level of 538 euros (Geringfügigkeitsgrenze), this is known as a "mini-job". If your employment is limited to three months or seventy working days per year from the beginning and – if the monthly remuneration exceeds 538 euros – is not of a professional nature, this is considered short-term employment. Both of these cases are regarded as “marginal employment” (geringfügige Beschäftigung). The level for marginal employment (Geringfügigkeitsgrenze) will rise with the minimum wage.

As a worker in marginal employment, you are insured against accidents at work and occupational diseases in the statutory accident insurance scheme. However, you are not covered by the statutory health insurance system, long-term care insurance system or the unemployment insurance system. Workers with so-called “mini-jobs” are generally subject to pension insurance, making pension contributions amounting to 3.6 per cent of their salary (13.6 per cent if they are employed in a private household). It is possible to apply for an exemption from compulsory pension insurance. The application must be given to the employer.

In terms of labour law, you have the same rights as those in full-time employment. For example, you are entitled to the statutory minimum wage, paid annual leave, and continued payment of wages in the event of illness and on public holidays, as well as maternity benefit top-up payments.

For more information about the possible effects on social benefits, see the answer to the question "Can I keep my own funds when I apply for social benefits?”.

2.8 What are midi-jobs? What do I have to pay attention to if I take a so-called “midi-job”?

If you are in an employment relationship in which you earn a gross monthly wage between 538.01 and 2,000 euros, it is a so-called midi-job. Midi-jobs are subject to social security contributions, which means that employees and employers pay contributions to health and long-term care insurance and to unemployment and pension insurance.

The employee's contribution is zero percent at the beginning of the transitional period and increases up to the midi-job ceiling to the regular employee's contribution. Although these contributions are greatly reduced compared to other employees, you are in principle entitled to full benefits from health, long-term care, unemployment and pension insurance in accordance with your gross pay.

2.9 What is temporary agency work? What is temporary staffing? What is labour hire?

Temporary agency work means that as an employee you have got an employment contract with an employer. This employer then hires you out to a third company to perform work. Your work is temporary agency work if you are integrated into the organisation of the third company and are subject to its instructions. Employees who are hired out to third companies to perform work are called temporary agency workers. The employer with whom the temporary agency worker has an employment contract is known as a temporary work agency or staffing agency. This agency has the duties of an employer such as paying wages and granting paid leave. The temporary work agency needs a permit to hire out staff, which is issued by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). The Federal Employment Agency monitors the temporary work agencies on a regular basis, checking whether they pay wage taxes and social insurance contributions. The Federal Employment Agency also checks for compliance with labour law.

The third company where the work is actually performed is the user enterprise. Temporary agency workers have the same workers’ rights as other employees, for example, protection against unfair dismissal and rights under the Part-time and Fixed-term Employment Act (Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz). Temporary agency workers receive at least a sector-specific minimum wage (see question 2.4).

Temporary agency work is also called temporary staffing or labour hire. It is characterised by a triangular relationship between the temporary work agency, the user enterprise and the temporary agency worker.

2.10 Who can help if I have questions about labour law?

You can find important information concerning your rights as a worker in Germany on the website"Fair Integration". In case of a concrete problem, e.g. if you believe that your employer is not paying you a sufficient wage, you can contact a “Fair Integration” counselling centre. Their advice is free of charge and available in many languages, including Russian and Ukrainian at some of the centres. Here you can find an overview of the counseling centres.

Please note, especially if you are not (yet) very familiar with the German labour market:

A lack of language skills or knowledge of the law, together with uncertainties about access to the labour market and the provisions of residence law, can sometimes lead to people ending up in exploitative work situations. You can find useful information about your rights on the website of the Service Centre Against Forced Labour.

In addition, the Berlin Advisory Centre for Migration and Decent Work (BEMA) has produced leaflets on labour rights for Ukrainian refugees in Ukrainian, Russian, English and German.

2.11 What rules on occupational safety and health are applicable in Germany? Who can I contact about them?

People who work must be safe, and work is not allowed to put people’s health at risk. In Germany, employers are required to protect their employees effectively from risks and damage to their health. This binding principle is enshrined in the Safety and Health at Work Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz) and other occupational safety and health ordinances.

An overview of the occupational safety and health system in Germany and the corresponding legal regulations can be found at: “Occupational Safety and Health“.

You can turn to:

  • Employers, who are legally obliged to ensure effective safety and health measures;
  • Workers’ representatives (works council, trade union);
  • Company physicians.

3.Social benefits

3.1 Can I receive social benefits in Germany?

Yes, you can receive social benefits if your income and, if applicable, assets are not sufficient to cover your living costs.

If you are capable of working, you can receive the Citizen's Benefit from the job centre for yourself and your family. You can find more information on the Citizen's Benefit here.

If you are only capable of working to a limited extent or receive an old-age pension, you can receive money from the welfare office (Sozialamt) (social assistance). One of the prerequisites for the Citizen's Benefit and social assistance is that you receive a residence permit (under Section 24 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz)) or a corresponding “provisional residence document” (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) from the foreigners authority (Ausländerbehörde). The local job centre or the local welfare office can give you information on this.

Receiving benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz) may also be possible under certain conditions.

3.2 What financial benefits can I receive?

You can receive support from the job centre in the form of the Citizen's Benefit. This includes:

  • Benefits to secure living expenses (including accommodation and heating),
  • Labour market integration assistance (see Chapter 3)

Generally, cash benefits are provided. However, vouchers for food, clothing, personal hygiene articles and rent are also possible. As a Citizen's Benefit recipient you are also covered by the statutory health insurance scheme. One-off benefits, for example for the initial furnishing of an accommodation with furniture, are also possible. For children and young adults, education and participation benefits are also possible under certain conditions, for example for tutoring outside school or music lessons.

Your local job centre will also advise you on these issues.

The welfare office can also support you with benefits to secure living expenses, i.e. money/vouchers for rent, food and personal hygiene items. It is also possible to receive one-off financial support, for example if you have found accommodation and need furniture. Ukrainians who receive money from the welfare office are not insured under the statutory health insurance system. They do however receive a health insurance card from a statutory health insurance scheme and can, for example, go to the doctor when they are ill. The costs for this are covered by the welfare office.

Benefits provided under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act also include the costs of accommodation, food, personal hygiene items, etc. You can also receive support for mobility or communication, as well as basic medical care.

3.3 What is the Citizen's Benefit and who can receive the Citizen's Benefit?

The Citizen's Benefit is one of the benefits to secure living expenses. It thus is one of the benefits to secure a dignified minimum subsistence level. People who are capable of working and who have no income or only a low income are entitled to the Citizen's Benefit.

In particular, the Citizen's Benefit covers needs for food, clothing, personal hygiene articles, household goods, household energy and what is needed for participation in the social and cultural life of the community. Adequate needs in terms of accommodation and heating are also included in the Citizen's Benefit.

The aim of the Citizen's Benefit is to eliminate the need for assistance, above all by helping people to find jobs. The job centres actively support people in obtaining work or training. The recipients of benefits are also required to actively participate in this process.

3.4 Which costs for my accommodation are covered?

In the first year in which you receive the Citizen's Benefit, the actual costs for the apartment (rent) or the home (benefits to secure accommodation) are covered in full. This allows you to concentrate fully on finding a job or preparing to start work (e.g. through further training). If you receive benefits longer than that, your costs will only be covered to a reasonable extent.

From the start, heating costs are only covered to a reasonable extent. It is therefore very important that you always use energy sparingly. The reasonable costs for heating are determined by the municipalities.

3.5 Will I also get support for high back payments for heating costs?

Yes, even if you have not received the Citizen's Benefit so far, the job centre can help you with high back payments for heating costs or high expenses due to adequate stockpiling if these heating costs mean you need assistance.

It is important to note: An application must be submitted to the relevant job centre within three months of the month in which the bill was due. This arrangement is in place until 31 December 2023.
Please note: Even if you apply for the Citizen's Benefit for only one month, the usual Citizen's Benefit application form must be filled in, which means there is no separate application form for one month of Citizen's Benefit. The application can be made online at most job centres. You can also obtain application forms from your job centre or from the website of your job centre (see question 1.7).
How such an application is processed can be illustrated by an example:

A person who has not been receiving the Citizen's Benefit gets a bill for a heating cost back payment on 5 May 2023. This is due on 5 June 2023. You have time until the end of the third month after the month in which it is due to be paid to apply for the Citizen's Benefit. Because the month it is due is June, a Citizen's Benefit application must be submitted to the job centre by 30 September 2023 at the latest.

The job centres process these cases according to the usual procedure. That means that applicants have to provide information on their income and assets. The job centre then reviews whether a claim for benefits is based on the expenditures for heating costs.

If the review shows that the person is entitled to the Citizen's Benefit in the month it was due, the benefit will be paid and can be used to settle the outstanding bill for the purchase of an adequate supply of heating fuel or the outstanding back payment.

You can find more examples here.

3.6 How much is the Citizen's Benefit?

The so-called standard needs rate to secure living expenses includes means for food, clothing, personal hygiene articles, household goods and what is needed for participation in the social and cultural life of the community. The standard needs rate is a monthly lump sum. The amount of the standard needs rate is shown in the table below:

Citizen's Benefit beneficiaryStandard needs rate per month
  • Single / single parents
  • Adult with minor partners
563 euros
Adult partner

506 euros each

  • Adults without their own household, who are not partners and have not yet reached the age of 25 (18 to 24 years)
  • Persons who have not yet reached the age of 25 (15 to 24 years) and who move without the job centre's approval
451 euros
  • Children over the age of 14 who have not yet reached the age of 18 (14 to 17 years)
  • Minors with adult partners
471 euros
Children from the age of 6 who have not yet reached the age of 14 (6 to 13 years)390 euros
Children who have not yet reached the age of 6 (0 to 5 years) 357 euros

In addition to the standard needs rate, children and adolescents also receive a direct supplement for children of 20 euros per month.
In addition to the standard needs rate, appropriate expenses for accommodation and heating as well as, if applicable, certain additional needs factors (e.g. in case of pregnancy) and one-off needs (e.g. for the initial furnishing of the accommodation) are covered.

Here you will find more information.

3.7 What do I need to do to receive social benefits?

If you need support, the first thing you should do is register at an reception centre (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung). You can be registered anywhere in Germany at a foreigners authority office.

You can receive money from the job centre or welfare office if you have applied for a residence permit under Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act at the foreigners authority office of your place of residence or where you are staying. If a residence permit cannot be issued immediately under Section 24 (1) of the Residence Act, you will first be issued a provisional residence document. This document entitles you to receive social benefits. Before a residence permit pursuant to Section 24 (1) Residence Act or a corresponding provisional residence document is issued, benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act may be possible.

You can fill out a paper application or use the online procedure to apply for support in the form of cash benefits at the job centre. Please find out whether your job centre has JOBCENTER.DIGITAL II or whether the online application can be submitted using another digital procedure.

You can also receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act if you submit a formal application for asylum to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - BAMF). However, displaced persons from Ukraine are not required to apply for asylum in order to secure right of residence and/or to receive social benefits in Germany.

3.8 Will my family members also receive social benefits?

Family members who live with you can also receive benefits.

Depending on family circumstances and personal circumstances, you and your family members may be entitled to social benefits under various laws (Book II or Book XII of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch) or Asylum Seekers Benefits Act). It is important that you apply in good time for these benefits to secure living expenses for yourself and your family members. You will be informed if the local job centre or the welfare office determines that one or more of your family members qualifies for another social benefit, or the application will be forwarded to the competent authority.

3.9 Can I keep my own funds when I apply for social benefits?

Benefits to secure living expenses are only paid to those who cannot cover their living expenses from their own income or assets. In this context, the same rules apply as for all other people who receive social benefits in Germany.

When assessing the need for support, a person’s income and assets are thus taken into account if they can actually be accessed. In addition, various allowances apply; this means that certain amounts can be kept. For example, income from employment is not fully counted against the benefits. You can find more information on the exemptions specifically for the Citizen's Benefit here.

Assets which currently cannot be accessed because they are in Ukraine (e.g. real estate) are not taken into account. If you have significant assets which you can access (e.g. bank deposits, cash), then above a certain amount you must primarily use these assets to cover your living expenses.

3.10 What rules apply to pensioners and people who are unable to work regarding the payment of the actual cost of accommodation and asset exemptions?

The regulations regarding the payment of the actual costs for accommodation also apply to pensioners and persons unable to work (social assistance - Book XII of the Social Code).

However, different asset exemptions apply than with the Citizen's Benefit. The asset exemption in Book XII of the Social Code is 10,000 euros for a person entitled to benefits. The same amount also applies to e.g. non-separated spouses or life partners as well as partners in a marriage-like or life partnership-like relationship. A married couple is entitled to 20,000 euros in protected assets, for example.

Recipients of benefits for care are entitled to an additional allowance of 25,000 euros for living expenses and old-age provision, in addition to the asset exemptions mentioned above (10,000 euros). This applies if this amount is acquired wholly or mainly as income from self-employment or dependent employment while receiving the benefit.

3.11 What should I bear in mind when travelling abroad for short or long periods of time? Or when returning to Ukraine? Or moving to another country?

All Ukrainians who already have a residence permit and a corresponding certificate in line with Section 24 of the Residence Act can travel to Ukraine and return to Germany at any time.

The duration of a trip has a direct influence on the residence status of those travelling in Germany and their right to receive basic income benefits under Book II of the Social Code (Citizen's Benefit).

The following applies to short term travel:

Ukrainians with temporary protection can travel to their home country and return to Germany for up to three weeks a year, including weekends and public holidays. If the job centre has agreed to the absence, then the Citizen's Benefit continues to be paid and the registration in Germany remains valid.

It is important that the reason for the short trip be temporary, otherwise Germany may revoke the residence permit. Travel to Ukraine to start a course of education or to care for a family member may be considered as more than a temporary reason and lead to the revocation of your residence permit. The most important requirement is then to request the job centre's approval for the planned absence in good time, preferably 1-2 weeks in advance, by email or at an on-site appointment.

The application to the job centre should include the duration of the trip, the expected date of departure and return, and the destination. This can be done in writing without any particular form. It is also advisable to check the period of validity of the residence permit before leaving Ukraine and to apply for its extension if necessary (this also applies to long-term travel).

Note: The unemployment benefit Citizen's Benefit is only paid for the duration of three weeks if the duration of the journey is between three and six weeks.

For long-term trips (up to six months) the following applies:

If a trip lasts longer than six weeks, the payment of the Citizen's Benefit is usually discontinued. A corresponding application must be made again after returning to Germany. The job centre must be informed before leaving the country.

The following applies to returning to Ukraine or moving to another country:

If you move from Germany to another country or if you return to Ukraine, please inform your foreigners authority. In addition, it is necessary to have the registration removed at the registration authority. Please go to the registration authority at the earliest one week before and at the latest 2 weeks after moving to have the registration removed. It is also possible to have the registration removed in writing or by e-mail.

If you receive basic income benefits according to Book II or Book XII of the Social Code, or receive benefits according to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, you must also inform the job centre (in case of Book II of the Social Code), the welfare office (in case of Book XII of the Social Code) or the institution providing asylum seeker benefits of your departure. Also inform them when you are leaving the country.

In this case, you are no longer entitled to receive basic security benefits in Germany. People leaving the country must cancel all existing contracts. This includes rental agreements, contracts with internet or mobile phone providers, etc. It is advisable to allow sufficient time to complete these steps before leaving the country.

Given the volatility of the situation in Ukraine, it is advisable to seek advice from the job centre on a possible return to Germany or other European countries in the event of an escalation of hostilities.

4. Learning German – language courses and support

4.1 Can I get a job even if I don’t speak German?

Getting a job does not necessarily depend on your ability to speak German.

In general, however, it is important for you to have a basic grasp of German so that you can communicate with your employer and colleagues. There are also many jobs and fields where it is important for you to have adequate German language skills. In what are known as regulated professions, your German language skills may be required to be at a certain level in order for you to obtain a professional licence (see question 2.2).

For this reason, it is always a good idea to attend a course to learn German (see question 4.2).

4.2 What German courses can I take and how can I apply for a course?

It is possible to attend a state-subsidised language course. Depending on how well you can already speak German, your options are either an integration course or a job-related language course.

If you do not speak any German or your German language skills are very limited, and you have a residence permit under Section 24 of the Residence Act, your local job centre can grant you admission to an integration course. You do not have to pay anything for the course. There are various offers that fit various situations, for example courses specifically for women or parents.

If you have already completed an integration course or you already know German well (level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), you can attend a vocational language course. The prerequisite is that you have a work permit. Your local job centre can give you advice. There, they can help you find a course that fits and give you the participation authorisation. The course is generally free of charge.

If you receive a residence permit under Section 24 of the Residence Act, you can also attend an initial orientation course or a so-called “MiA course” (“Migrantinnen einfach stark im Alltag”, an offer especially for women).

Further information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees - Welcome Service and Language Support for Refugees from Ukraine

4.3 Can I learn German online, too?

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees offers an overview of free online ways to learn German on its website.

5. Medical care

5.1 What if I get sick or need medical help?

If you receive money from the job centre, you are insured in the statutory health insurance system. Just like everyone else who is covered by the statutory health insurance system, you are entitled, under Book V of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch), to a range of services, especially medical treatment, pregnancy and maternity services, and services for the prevention and early detection of diseases.

If you receive social assistance (Sozialhilfe), you are not compulsorily insured in the statutory health insurance system. However, you will receive a health insurance card from a statutory health insurance fund, and this allows you to access healthcare services if you need them, in line with the services provided by statutory health insurance. The costs will be covered by the welfare office (Sozialamt).

If you receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz), you are only entitled to the medical and dental treatment required for the treatment of acute illness or pain. This includes the provision of medicine and dressings, as well as other benefits required for recovery, improvement or alleviation of illness or its consequences.

Officially recommended vaccinations and medically necessary preventive examinations for the prevention and early detection of diseases or the consequences of diseases are also covered. Dental prostheses are covered if, in an individual case, they cannot be postponed for medical reasons.

Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are entitled to medical and nursing assistance and care, midwife support, medicine, dressings and remedies.

Additional benefits may be granted if they are indispensable for the protection of health in individual cases. This regulation enables the competent benefit authorities to meet special needs in individual cases. The legislation does not impose any restrictions on the type of illnesses, so that the treatment of mental illnesses can also be covered.

5.2 Where can I get help if I have a physical or mental impairment?

Refugees from Ukraine with physical or psychological impairments, and their family members, need information when they arrive in Germany about accessible registration, residence, and accommodation and care in keeping with their needs. The complementary independent participation counselling service (EUTB) advises these people throughout Germany. The association “mittendrin e.V.” has created an information page in Ukrainian and Russian for this group of people. More information about the EUTB can be found in this flyer [PDF, 108KB].

Please contact the competent office in the Land where you are staying. Information provided by the individual Länder for refugees with and without disabilities from Ukraine and persons assisting them can be obtained here: