I am a non-EU citizen, and am going to relocate from Estonia, to Germany. When I have HR interviews, they ask me about my salary expectations.

My strategy is to maximize my chance to get the job, and I know, I can shine in the probation period, and then ask for an increase in salary after 1 year, or six months.

Therefore, I always answer them such as:

I know, in order to receive work permit in Germany, my salary should be above a minimum value, and as long as this minimum is met, then I am happy with it.

I am wondering, if such strategy increases my chance to get the job or not?


6 Answers 6


I would advise against this as a strategy for three reasons:

  1. It tells the employer that you are only applying to get into the EU (or Germany in particular), which is a huge red flag.
  2. You are massively undervaluing yourself, and as a result it will cause doubts as to whether you can meet the expectations.
  3. Cost of living is higher, this may not be sustainable in the long run.

I would suggest that you research the average salary range for the jobs you are looking at, and make your proposal at the lower end.

For example, (not actual numbers) an experienced [insert framework here] developer in Berlin might expect a salary between €35,000 and €55,000. If you are an experience [insert framework here] developer looking to move to Germany, I would suggest a proposed salary of around €40,000, based on this entirely hypothetical range.

  • 16
    I agree with the answer, however the numbers might be a little bit small. €40k looks more like a entry-level salary, unless you'll make much less in Berlin than in South Germany. OP should do his own research.
    – Chris
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 11:30
  • 4
    How relevant do you think point 1 is given that they already live in an EU country?
    – BauerPower
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 11:48
  • 5
    Is a non-EU citizen living in EU country A (Estonia) free to move and work in EU country B (Germany)? I doubt it. The OP could perhaps clarify on his status (does he have a work visa in Estonia, what his citizenship is, etc.) Different rules may apply if he is a citizen of US vs Egypt vs Russia vs Indonesia. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 12:59
  • 7
    The "red flag" point is valid though. It may be perceived as he is only applying in order to move to Germany. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 13:02
  • 19
    @Philipp They are hypotheticals to illustrate the range, as made very clear in the response by the words "this entirely hypothetical range"
    – JohnHC
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 15:28

Not necessarily. You should ask for the market average that depends on your qualification and experience. Candidates that are a lot below the market average can be treated as suspicious, or shady applicants, that have some negative thing to hide that decreases their market value, but that cause is not apparent in the CV, so could pose significant risk for the employer.


Most answers seem to assume that minimal salary is a low salary. You didn't make it clear in your post if that was the case. If your minimal salary is actually in the market's value, then I don't think most answers apply.

Otherwise :

Asking for a low salary could also turn out to be a problem for your employer

Let's say you ask for 30k while the average is usually 50 (those are fictional numbers). As an hiring manager I'd be pretty damn sure you'll jump ship as soon as you'd get a better offer from somewhere else, and I'd probably rather hire someone asking for a reasonable salary that has more chance of staying in the long run than having you for peanuts for a year or two. That's kind of the same problem for people that are overqualified. You might be okay with having a low salary right now, but how about 5 years from now? The company that hires you would probably love for you to stay there.

Salary negotiation is the most effective when done before being hired

This article although from 2014 explains what I want to say much better than I can. By waiting for the end of your probation to ask for a salary increase, you are probably setting yourself for disappointment. One solution for this is to make it clear in the contract you'd sign that after probation you'd expect X$ salary increase. Nothing is official unless it's written somewhere signed by both parties.


I would say don't speculate, that you get an increase in salary. If you want to increase your chances to get the job, you should outline your expertise.

As others already mentioned you should orientate on your market value with your expertise in that location (differences from state to state!).


The minimum annual gross salary to get a work permit as non-EU citizen (blue card) in Germany currently is 53.600 € or 41.808 € for most STEM jobs. (Germany IT companies have been lobbying heavily to get this exemption for IT workers.) Unless you're applying for a senior position or think that you're extremely good at what you do, I wouldn't expect German companies to pay much more than the minimum salary. Telling up-front that you're OK with the minimum might be a red flag as mentioned in other answers, so I'd try to negotiate a slightly higher salary, maybe 60.000 € or 45-50.000 € for STEM jobs.


You make a bad impression asking for a low salary and more importantly quite often you actually don't need to. In Germany there are quite often going rates for salary, even with hi-tech companies.

What happened to me personally a number of times was this:

- What are your salary expectations / requirements / wishes?

- Something to the tune of X.

- Ok, our company rate guideline says we can offer you Y.

Where X and Y would differ by up to 30% either way and even this big difference didn't mean my application was rejected. I can only guess that going right off the scale wouldn't come across very well.

Important tip: calculate how much to ask for

What is advertised with the job and how much you ask for is more than you'll effectively get. For me, a foreigner, the German income tax system was quite opaque and unpredictable. So I suggest you try reasoning up your required paycheck number (depends very much on where are you going to live, whether you need to support a family, if you maintain a car or two, how often you travel home on a train which can get quite expensive, etc.) and then look at for example this income deduction calculator and get the idea about what number to ask for (since the salary offers are usually pre-deduction and there for sure will be considerable deductions). The system gives advantage to the lowest income groups, but if you try out higher values (for example the average or median income), you'll quickly learn that at average levels and above the tax curve is quite steep and that getting a bit for you means asking for two to three bits from the employer, which puts your reasoning to quite a different perspective.

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