Germany is the largest country in Europe, located in the centre and bordered by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland. Germany has long been the top destination for international contractors. English is widely spoken and many Germans speak it reasonably well. It is an advantage if you speak some German, but not essential.
All residents of Germany, including the Germans themselves are required to register their presence with the local authorities. Should you work in Germany for 183 days you may be considered resident in Germany for tax purposes from the date of your arrival. The tax year and the calendar year run from January to December. Income tax and social security taxes in Germany can be quite high compared to the UK, Ireland and the USA.
The schedule of tax free allowance in Germany is notoriously complex and there are different rates and bands dependent upon your personal circumstances and the region in which you are living. It is always preferable for the first time expatriate resident in Germany to seek professional assistance when filing their tax returns.
The Contract Market
The contract market in Germany centres on Frankfurt and Munich although Stuttgart and Dusseldorf also have much to offer. It is one of the most popular markets in the world with many opportunities available. Frankfurt is the most popular location for "first time” contractors mostly because of its vibrant expatriate community. There are lots of bars and restaurants in these areas, including Irish, Australian and South African.
Relocating to Germany
All of the key contracting locations have a wide range of good quality rental accommodation. Rental in Frankfurt (the most popular location), if you are not too fussy, in one of the cheaper areas costs approximately Euro 350 per month for a one bedroom apartment. If your accommodation needs are greater or if you want to live in a more pleasant location, you should be able to find a pleasant 2 - 3 bed roomed apartment from Euro 800 – 1000 per month.
Traveling to Germany
The London to Germany flight route is one of the most competitive in Europe and you should expect to pay around Euro 150 for a return flight. There are usually special offers to be had at off-peak times. There are also good rail links to Germany for those who favour travelling by land and ferry crossings available for those who prefer the sea.