job seeker visa
European countries are offering international students the chance to apply for a job seeker visa. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

There are many countries around the world that offer job seeker visas that let international students live and job hunt — even up to years

They do this for many reasons, but especially if they have a shortage of skilled workers in countries such as Australia and Germany.

It is a goal of many international students to stay longer in their host country.

Ideally, they’d like to find a job, settle down and even seek permanent residence without having to jump through too many bureaucratic hoops. 

The first thing they have to do is to find a job — however, many countries do not allow international students to remain without sponsorship from an employer.

Enter job seeker visas — these let international students remain legally in their host country while looking for a job.

While the process might seem daunting, complicated or even a far-fetched dream, it isn’t impossible to obtain a job seeker visa to search for employment opportunities upon graduation. 

Below are three European countries offering job seeker visas for international students: 

job seeker visa

In light of a shortage of skilled workers in countries such as Germany, European countries are opening up opportunities for international students to seek employment. Source: Ludovic Marin/AFP

1. Germany

International students at German universities can apply for the German job seeker visa.

It is basically a residence permit to seek employment in the country after completion of their studies for the purpose of finding a job corresponding to the degree they obtained. 

The job seeker visa is a temporary residence permit, which is valid for a maximum of 18 months and cannot be extended. Do note that the visa requirements differ across each city

While English proficiency is sufficient to qualify for the visa, it is recommended for applicants to have basic German proficiency. 

You don’t need to apply for a job seeker visa if you are a national of an EU/EEA country.

But if you’re a national from one of these countries below, you must apply for a temporary residence permit upon your arrival in Berlin, directly at the Immigration Office:  

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • the Republic of Korea
  • New Zealand
  • United States of America

Nationals of other countries need to first obtain a job seeker visa in order to be able to enter Germany and search for employment.

Find out more about how to apply for the visa here and look for German embassies nearest to you. 

2. Austria

The job seeker visa is issued to highly qualified non-EU citizens who are looking for a job in Austria, but do not have an offer. The visa is not to be mistaken as a work permit. 

It has a validity of six months and allows its holders to stay in Austria and look for a job legally.

Once the applicant has received a job offer, they are required to apply for a work permit, like a Red-White-Red Card, for example.

To be eligible, applicants need to score a minimum of 70 points out of a maximum of 100 points based on the points criteria system which includes:

  • Graduation from an institution of higher education
  • Special qualifications and skills in the subjects mathematics, informatics, natural sciences or technology
  • Post-doctoral qualification or PhD
  • Research and innovation activities
  • Work experience
  • Language skills
  • Age
  • Studies in Austria

Each of these criteria amounts to a number of points ranging from two to 20.

In order to apply for this visa, you must visit the embassy or consulate in the country you reside. Click here for a full list of Austrian embassies or consulates around the world.

job seeker visa

The job seeker visa is a new Swedish visa that allows international students to seek a job in the country. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

3. Sweden

This new Swedish visa allows international students to seek a job in Sweden. The visa is valid for minimum three months and may also be granted for a maximum of nine months.

To qualify for this visa, you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or another advanced degree.
  • Show proof that you are able to support yourself during your time in the country.
  • You must be willing to look for jobs or start your own business. This includes having a well-laid-out plan to do so.
  • Have comprehensive health insurance.
  • A valid passport during your duration in the country. 
  • Are living out of Sweden.

When submitting the application, you’re required to provide a letter granting the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) the right to contact your educational institution to verify the educational documents that are submitted.

A full list of the documents needed for the visa application to seek for a job in Sweden can be found on the Migration Agency’s website here.

This is the full list of Swedish consulates around the world.