SAXONY! – A Living and Business Location at its Best
Guest Article by Expert Information Centre Immigration in Saxony
Saxony has many pictures, which tell many tales and create lots of history: The heart of “Silicon Saxony,” Europe’s largest microelectronics / ICT cluster, beats in Dresden. Between Leipzig and Dresden, researchers and entrepreneurs are working hand-in-hand in the life sciences and environmental technology sectors. Leipzig is a thriving city for young start-ups, start-up-relevant players, and event formats. Branches such as e-commerce, big data, infrastructure, life science, health, energy, and mobility are now firmly established in Leipzig, enriching the city and Saxony. What people value about Leipzig is the city’s high quality of life combined with low costs, not only for housing but also for offices, coworking spaces, and other opportunities to exchange ideas with fellow bright minds. Furthermore, The Chemnitz-Zwickau region is the traditional powerhouse of Saxony’s economy: Whether it be mechanical engineering or more than 100 years of “Autoland Saxony” – strong and highly efficient industries have evolved from smart ideas and intelligent solutions. Saxony’s innovative spirit focuses on such topics as, for example, automation technology/robotics, artificial intelligence, smart sensor technology, highly automated driving, and energy storage technologies.
Saxony’s transportation infrastructure is also efficient and solution-oriented – with its dense network of federal expressways, rail lines, three inland ports on the Elbe River, and two international airports. At Leipzig/Halle Airport, for example, the logistics giant DHL provides 24/7 service year-round at its European air cargo hub.
Saxony – this does not just stand for business, dynamic growth, and industry, not only world-renowned are also the products “made in Saxony” with precision craftsmanship and manufacturing tradition such as MEISSEN® porcelain or watches made in “Glashütte / Sa.” – Saxony enchants. There is a lot of great nature, from the great Lakescape around Leipzig to the mountains in the Elbsandsteingebirge near Dresden, there is a possibility to escape the city, whenever you feel like it. But the Saxonian cities themselves have a lot to offer, too!
These places are not only rich in job opportunities of different fields, but also offer a lot of cultural activities, German or international. With a superb blend of a remarkable historical heritage, a wide range of cultural attractions, and great natural beauty – Germany’s number one travel destination for culture enthralls residents and tourists alike. In combination with the low cost of living, Saxony plays an unrivaled role as a new home where you can quickly feel at home and dreams can come true.
But what does this mean in concrete terms for our foreign skilled workers? We conducted interviews to find out what fascinated them about Saxony and how they shape their lives here.
Some of the interviewees came for realizing their master’s degrees in Germany and decided to stay, some of them came for a job opportunity and got settled very well. What they all have in common is that they found a permanent stay in Saxony, built successful lives here, want to share some of their experience, and would always recommend not hesitating to make the first steps into the adventure of living and working in Germany.
First things first, what were the first experiences you had when you decided to live in Germany?
When the decision was taken, our interviewees firstly looked out for as much information as possible. For study purposes, Mandar (from India, works as Process Integration Engineer) got in contact with the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), which can answer all your questions regarding studying in Germany. Of course, a bigger issue is always the stable financing of the stay, which is legally required to be guaranteed before coming to Germany. One way could be a scholarship, as one of our interviewees applied for and got granted.
For work-related questions and support, your local German Embassy is the first point of contact, where the visa is applied for together with the employment contract. One piece of advice that Silvia (from Colombia, works in IT and Software) gives is to plan enough time for all steps, from the first contact to the entry into Germany, because the bureaucracy sometimes takes a little longer. However, this is not an insurmountable hurdle, because there are many places that offer help, either the new employer or external agencies such as the Expert Information Centre Immigration. All in all, there are several contact points that are all very open and happy to welcome you in your efforts to come to Germany as a skilled worker.
What helped you the most to settle in Saxony?
Saxony has already a very international community, which helped our interviewees a lot. For students, there are also buddy programs at the different universities, which can assign you a tutor who will help you with your first steps at the university and in Germany. Pooja (from India, works as a Software Engineer) had the wonderful experience of having a mentor from her workplace, who helped her with translations, going to the city administration office, and finding an apartment, for which she was very thankful. She also told us, that there is an Indian community within the city and Saxony, where she could find friends very easily and find support in her new daily life, who have maybe made the same experiences and have a similar background. All in all, building her own little community, consisting of German and international friends, was a big step forward when building her life in Saxony.
What were some difficulties that you faced?
After completing his master’s degree in Germany, Mandar faced some difficulties when searching for jobs. Although highly skilled, a lot of companies were only looking for people with concrete working experience in the industry. However, after graduation, there is the possibility to apply for a visa as a bridge between the studies and finding a workplace, which allows you to stay in Germany for 18 months to be able to conduct job interviews and other stages of job applications. This was a great opportunity for him to prove his skills and knowledge to companies in person.
Pooja had a little trouble finding a spot in kindergarten for her child right away and had to find other solutions for the first six months. But she was very ambitious to find a spot for her child, which then worked out perfectly! If you are considering moving to Germany with your family, there are possibilities to support you in that! You are welcome to contact us for further information.
You have had some time now to settle in Germany. How is your life in Saxony and what do you enjoy most about it?
Pooja pointed out to us, that at work, she feels very appreciated, not only as an employee but also as a person. For her, it is very valuable, that the German health and welfare system is highly supportive and, in comparison to work environments in other countries, the working culture in Germany is very focused on the people behind the workforce, not just the strict results. Another point made is that,
compared to other countries or even other regions in Germany, Saxony has lower living costs, as renting an apartment is very affordable, for example. She also enjoys going everywhere by bike, which makes traveling within the city and life more enjoyable in general.
What advice would you give someone who is considering migrating to Germany for their studies or for work?
It is always recommended to learn the German Language before coming to Germany. Even though in some cases, you will not necessarily need German as your working language (for example, in technical or IT-related jobs), managing your daily life in Germany will be easier. But more importantly, said Mandar, learning German comes with an insight into German culture, values, working culture, daily habits, and more. Also, Alina (from Ukraine, works in HR) mentioned to us that in the beginning, you will have to navigate through some bureaucratic novelties, so it was often recommended to get information about the German Social system, the tax system, and the welfare and health system.
With a solid basis of language skills and information, you will easily find your path, because possibilities are endless in Saxony!
A big thank you to all our interviewees for sharing your experiences with us! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us:
Lara Kusnezow & Natalie Simon from the Expert Information Centre Immigration in Saxony https://www.welcomesaxony.de/fachinformationszentrum-zuwanderung/; https://www.netzwerk-iq-sachsen.de/fachinformationszentren-zuwanderung /),