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We would like to help you understand how to use a relocation company to assist your employees. What are the benefits for your business and your team in outsourcing this service to new recruits or employees who are taking up a position in a new location?

Whether you are hiring new recruits from abroad or moving existing employees from one office to another office in a different location, there are many administrative tasks and other things which need to be organised to get the person moved, settled in and integrated into their new role.

  • Time is money and if your employee can be efficiently supported then the time it takes to get their move organised can be optimised. By working with a relocation company you won’t need an in-house department and you will draw on people who bring the highest levels of experience and expertise.
  • Providing the option of a supported relocation is good for the company image, it shows that you value your employees, their families and their wellbeing.
  • Being able to offer a professionally supported relocation is a big asset when headhunting, it will give your company an advantage as it gives the employee incentive to move without feeling like a relocation would be too overwhelming.
  • Show your employee that you value their time by letting them avoid the ‚leg‘ work when they partner with a relocation consultant they are relieved of all the big and small organisational tasks related to a move.
  • Supporting not just the employee but also their spouse and/or their family is also hugely beneficial to the overall well being of the employee. 
  • The way an employee feels once they have moved to a new location can be imperative to their productivity. If they feel settled and happy then they will be motivated to start into their new role. They can be present physically and mentally knowing all the formalities of their move have been taken care of.
  • There are many costs, such as hotel costs, which can be avoided if an employee can relocate directly into furnished accommodation or their own apartment/house. Having a relocation partner on the ground makes organising this possible!

At IRC we can provide the support your employees need for a successful relocation. We have experienced staff, who understand the relocation from both a professional and personal point of view and who have the know-how to navigate any challenges which may arise. Let’s begin the relocation journey together!

Contact us now on: www.irc-berlin.com  

E-Mail: info@irc.berlin

Nestorstraße 2, 10711 Berlin

+49 (0)30 89702431

 

What do you think of when you hear relocation? We often find that people don’t know what a relocation actually entails and what a relocation company actually does and all the fantastic benefits that come with being supported during a move. Let us explain ….

Companies offer their employees a job or promotion in a new location, this could be across the country or on another continent. Part of this job offer can be a relocation package, whereby the employee is offered support in all areas financial, organisational to a relocation partner at the destination who will work with the employee and their family to ensure a successful transition into their new home.

This can include:

  • Visa & Immigration
  • Home search (temporary & permanent)
  • Property handover
  • Orientation
  • Registration with the local authorities
  • Finding schools/kindergartens
  • Registration of utilities

A comprehensive relocation package can ensure that an employee will be able to fully concentrate on their new position and feel supported in their new circumstances.

There are many advantages to working with a relocation company. Starting with their expertise and experience in some of the most fundamental aspects such as immigration and visa requirements. A relocation consultant understands what issues arise during a local or international move and is able to provide tailormade support to each individual client, whether someone is moving with a family, they have specific needs at their new location or they are required to dive straight into work and don’t have time to spend on all the details. The professional support can deal with all the unique challenges each individual relocation brings. A relocation company provides in depth knowledge and current information of the destination, thus giving a great local insight to the assignee.

This is where IRC comes in, we are a comprehensive partner in Germany to support in all aspects of relocation.

A nationwide warning day will take place for the first time on September 10, 2020 and will then be carried out annually on every second Thursday in September. On the joint day of action by the federal and state governments, all warning devices will be tested throughout Germany. Precisely at 11 a.m., warning devices such as sirens are triggered simultaneously in counties and municipalities with a test alarm.

Do not be alarmed, this is a TEST which will be ended at 11.20am on 10.09.2020.

For more information, please see: https://warnung-der-bevoelkerung.de/

(Source: https://www.berlin.de/sen/inneres/sicherheit/katastrophenschutz/warnung/?fbclid=IwAR3fTE_uw0TF_f51BySippyxyvx9o-7D9n0o7syxqxqMF5rnI0exK4gJej4#warntag)

 

Kindergeld (Child allowance) is something every new resident of Germany with children needs to know about. It is a payment made to parents for each child living at home up until the age of 18. It is paid monthly and can be seen as a type of tax relief for families. Read on to get information on how to apply!

Kindergeld is a payment made available to all families regardless of the parent’s income. The amount you receive per child is based on how many children you have:

  • 204€ for each of the first two children
  • 210€ for the third child
  • 235€ for the fourth and each additional child

You are eligible to apply for Kindergeld once you have been officially registered as a resident at the town hall (Anmeldung). You must have an Aufenthaltstitel for at least 2 years. Then you will receive a tax ID number for your child/ren which you will need to also submit for the application.

In order to apply for Kindergeld,  a completed application is sent to the Familienkasse, the Familienkasse for Berlin/Brandenburg is situated in Berlin. Once the application form has been handed in, the processing time can vary but expect at least up to 4 weeks – however, in some cases, the processing time can be much longer sometimes depending on where people have moved from. Once the application has been approved you will also receive a back-payment for the time you have been in registered in Germany.

For more information please see:  How to Germany: Kindergeld

(Source: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/familie-und-kinder)

About the author

Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.

Temporary Precautionary Measures in effect as of Monday. March 16 th 2020

Dear clients, partners, “New Berliner”, staff and those supporting IRC Berlin.

Several weeks ago, everything still felt in order. In the meantime, the WHO has officially declared Coronavirus a global pandemic and the German government has taken stringent measures, also the City State of Berlin. This is what generally happens in cases that involve exponential growth. Coronavirus is one of those cases as all numbers being collected around the world show.

What is important to understand, we need to adjust our daily habits and routines because they directly relate to the speed of the infection spreading — and we need to do so now. We, as a company, are also the ones who are responsible to keep infection numbers down. The health of our client’s employees, our partners and the IRC Consultant’s team and staff is our top priority. With our decision to close our office we are following the recommendation of the Berlin public health officers to avoid people-to-people contacts.

That’s why we as a company are taking these cautionary measures: 1. No more travel. 2. No Conferences/Events;/Team Meetings: Neither host nor participate. We only hold video meetings/trainings / conferences. 3. Only work from home / Only remote consultation 4. Stay away from any public spaces as much as possible. The Berlin authorities are dealing with the situation and have a partial closure. 5. Avoid public transportation 6. Avoid shaking hands

In general, we are very well prepared for the full remote work scenario, as we have had a chance to learn how to work partly remote during the last years. We are facing a situation that we as a company and as a team have never faced before. But we will do everything that is in our hands to navigate the upcoming. Please support us in doing so during the next weeks. If we all change our behaviour and act responsibly we can have a positive impact on the crisis itself. And additionally, if we all together, as a team do our best to navigate this crisis, we are extremely confident that we can come out of this crisis stronger than before.

We are experiencing a more supportive and genuine “WE” feeling in our community and amongst our competitors. This alone has been the most heart-warming experience in this very trying time. We hope you understand our preventive safety measures and we look forward to a brighter and healthier future. Thank you.

In this spirit, act now but stay calm and healthy!

Niklas & Ariane Almerood with the whole IRC Team

Starting in 2020 IRC is excited to announce, that we will be partnering with Friederike von Denffer and Elisabeth Villalta (IRC Independant Consultant) for Intercultural training to support our assignees and their spouses and children on their relocation journey.

We believe that by creating understanding some of the initial pitfalls of relocation and all this entails can be relieved or avoided altogether. We also want to bring awareness that many issues which arise in the interaction with a new culture are normal and with understanding will get better over time.

The benefits of Intercultural Training is to learn to gain more confidence when dealing with Germans, your colleagues or administration in Germany. Get to know the most important cultural differences. We want to support you in your understanding of your new ‚home‘ and present tried and tested strategies for successful integration.

The intercultural training is designed to help participants deal with a „foreign“ culture and to acquire appropriate behaviour to promote successful cooperation and a pleasant daily life. The trainings are designed as an interactive learning environment. Content is science-based, and inputs are brief and built around participants interests.

For more information, please contact us on: info@irc-berlin.com

About the author

Hi there! My name is Juli Buchanan. I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and I have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.

Welcome to Germany, what do you know about life in Germany? Is it all oompah music, steins of beer, Lederhosen and large portions of Meat & Potatoes? Well yes, there is that too but there is so much more to learn about those quirky german ways and soon enough you’ll be following the rules whilst wearing lederhosen, dancing to oompah music with a beer in your hand!

  1. What do you mean there is no kitchen?! It’s no joke, many german apartments/houses come without an inbuilt kitchen. This will appear as a shock to most ex-pats as a kitchen would seemingly be just part and parcel of a rental. But in Germany, this is most often not the case. The theory is, it stems from the fact that germans rent for longterm, meaning for the rest of their lives (well not always but sometimes!) and therefore they want to pick a kitchen which is theirs and consistent with their own style. So you may find yourself having to purchase a kitchen – however, it has become more common in the past 10 years for there to be a kitchen already installed.
  2. Introductions, where do you begin? When being introduced to someone, it is common to shake hands as a greeting and to introduce yourself by saying your last name. Germans will feel embarrassed if you introduce yourself with your first name. It is also common to shake hands when saying good-bye. When being introduced to a mixed crowd, always shake the hand of the woman first – erst die Dame – Ladies first. And be careful not to cross your arm over another couple shaking hands – this is bad luck in Germany!
  3. Introductions continued! – Always address Germans formally with Frau (Mrs./Ms.) and Herr (Mr.), or should the person have a title such as Dr. be sure to use it. The formal “Sie” and the informal “Du” (as in French vous and tu) sometimes cause confusion. Germans are very careful with offering someone the “Du” form, and the offering is always done by the older person. Adult women are always addressed as “Frau” whether married or not. The term “Fräulein” is out and is never used.
  4. Prost! A toast to your new life in Germany – be careful, a possible faux pas is lurking – When toasting, be sure to look the person with whom you are toasting directly in the eye, otherwise, it is 7 years of bad luck, and bad manners. “Zum Wohl” means “cheers” or more literally “to your health”.
  5. Sundays are for rest. There is a multitude of things you are not supposed to do on a Sunday, mow the lawn, vacuum, any kind of handyman jobs and you are not allowed to hang your laundry outside on a Sunday – historically to keep churchgoers who walk to church from being exposed to this unpleasant sight!. This can be expanded into the topic of „Ruhezeiten”, or quiet times in Germany, are every day from 13.00 – 15.00, including Saturdays, all day on Sundays, and every day after 22.00. You are not allowed to “make noise” during this time (e.g. mow your lawn). However, you are allowed to have a party (i.e. make noise) once a month!! It is customary to announce your intentions to make noise to your immediate neighbours or better yet, invite them to your party!.
  6. Happy Birthday! …. Now that you know how to say cheers and when you may party, the next important point is: Birthday celebrations, in Germany it is the responsibility of the birthday boy/girl (this also applies to adults!) to organise the celebrations. This means you give (i.e., pay) for your own birthday party/dinner. Often times, the one celebrating a birthday will bring cake and drinks into the office to share with colleagues.

Now, of course, all of these points are general and it will depend where you are living in Germany. Often Berlin is thought of as much more liberal than say a small town in the South but it’s always good to know the general rule.

The German health care system is one of the best in the world. Everyone is required to be insured and this insurance covers a large range of medical care across the board from General Practitioners, Specialists, preventative measures to dental. Depending on where you are coming from you may find the German System very extensive, it offers some excellent options for not just the treatment but also prevention of illness and general wellbeing for body, mind and spirit.

There are two types of insurance in Germany, Statutory Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung). It is mandatory to have medical insurance, which insurance you are eligible for depends on your income.

The criteria is as follows, Statutory Health Insurance is compulsory if you are:

  • in paid employment or in vocational training, including trainees and apprentices, and earn less than €57,600 per year (2017 figures);
  • pensioners who have been insured for a sufficient period of time;
  • receiving unemployment benefits or assistance;
  • in some form of youth assistance (Jugendhilfe);
  • students in an approved higher education institution;
  • farmers or assisting family members;
  • artists, writers and those in publishing professions (under the Artists Social Welfare Act);
  • have no other access to healthcare services (under certain conditions).

Spouses, civil partners and children (up to age 23, or 25 if studying) of someone covered by state healthcare insurance are eligible for family co-insurance in certain conditions, without having to pay contributions, provided their income does not exceed €415–450 each month, depending on the situation (casual or regular, respectively).

(Source: https://www.expatica.com/de/healthcare/healthcare-basics/a-guide-to-german-health-insurance-693463/ )

If you earn above the 57,600€ a year then you are open to choose Private Health Insurance. The benefits of private health insurance can definitely be Doctors/appointments being more readily available and access more senior staff at hospitals. Private health insurance is more expensive and it requires you to pay for spouses and children separately. Once you have been privately insured in Germany, it is difficult to almost impossible to change back into the Statutory Insurance – this is important to consider this when deciding whether to choose private insurance because if you have a change in financial circumstances you are bound to the higher premiums.

It is always advisable to look into various Insurance companies and see what they offer, make some comparisons and consider if they have specific offers which are compatible with your needs. Especially if you are looking to ensure a partner/spouse and/or children that you are being offered the best package. Under the Statutory Insurance families can often be insured with the employee.

The costs of Statutory health insurance are 14.6% of your income before tax (this is subject to change) – you pay around half of this and the employer pays the rest.

The costs of private health insurance are determined by various factors including your gender, age, current health and also your medical history. It is also important to note, if you are privately insured you will be billed by the doctor or medical institution and then subsequently reimbursed by your insurance, so there will be a time period in between where you are out of pocket until the reimbursement.

There are websites which offer comparisons of the different health insurance companies, you will need to enter in your data regarding your income, family situation, etc and they will give you an overview of the costs and what is offered.

For example: https://www.check24.de/gesetzliche-krankenversicherung/ or https://www.gesetzlichekrankenkassen.de/

About the author

Hi there! I’m Juli, I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.



Grocery shopping in Germany can be different to other countries, especially if you are used to long opening hours and convenient weekend shopping as it is offered in other places.

Germany still adheres to a more traditional model, including speciality stores, butchers, bakeries and outdoor farmers markets instead of only 24/7 convenience stores and big Malls. The speciality stores have the great advantage of having very knowledgeable staff and a wide range of specific and fresh products.

Opening hours are government regulated, this is particularly evident in regard to shops being closed on Sundays and on all public holidays such as Easter & Christmas. The exception to the Sunday rule are bakeries, they are usually open from 7 – 12 pm and the ‘Verkaufsoffener Sonntag’ which occur around 4 times a year, usually in the lead-up to Christmas, shops will be open from 1 – 6 pm. In a pinch, you can pick up limited goods from Gas Stations or in some neighbourhoods ‚Spätis‘ which are typical for Berlin, small shops that are open late and on weekends which stock, drinks, sweets and snacks.

Sunday Shopping 2019: 08.12.2019 & 22.12.2019 (this applies to all participating supermarkets and shops) These can be googled with the term ‚Verkaufsoffener Sonntag Berlin‘.

Supermarkets are generally open from 7 to 9 pm (in some places later), the major chains in Berlin are Edeka, Kaisers, Rewe, Real and Kaufland. Then there are the so-called Discounters, these include Aldi, Lidl, Netto & Penny – these are defined by their focus on less effort put into the display of the goods, sale of many no name or own-brand products and cheaper prices, they also offer weekly specials from furniture, clothes, plants to stationary.

Organic food is very popular in Germany and widely available, the word for this in German is BIO. Regular supermarkets all carry their own-brand line of BIO products, as do most of the Discounters. However, there are also BIO only supermarkets around, for example, Denns, LPG & Das Reformhaus.

There are also countless open-air markets around Berlin, these are called Wochenmarkt, here you can buy fresh produce daily, from Fruit and Vegetables to meat, fish and speciality foods such as Turkish or Asian. Open-air markets are usually once a week. Wochenmarkt days and times in your area can be found here: https://www.wochenmarkt-deutschland.de/maerkte/berlin/wochenmaerkte-in-berlin/

A couple of very important notes – you will need a 50 cent or 1 Euro coin for the shopping cart. Bring your own bags, bags are available but can cost up to 1 Euro and it is better for the environment to bring your own bags. Pfand, this is a small deposit imposed on glass and plastic bottles, usually around 25 cents to ensure you recycle the bottle, the deposit is refunded upon return of the bottle. One more tip, this is from experience – there is a product called Dishwasher Salt (Geschirrspüler Salz) in Germany, it is for the dishwasher ONLY. Be careful not to buy it and use it as regular salt.

If you are looking for country-specific products, some supermarkets carry small international sections and there are some speciality stores around Berlin.

Local food & produce: https://markthalleneun.de/ & https://www.visitberlin.de/en/arminiusmarkthalle & https://www.top10berlin.de/en/cat/shopping-261/farmers-markets-2840

Italian: https://www.centro-italia.de/

Asia: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187323-d2421570-Reviews-Dong_Xuan_Center-Berlin.html & https://goasia.net/

International: https://www.goldhahnundsampson.de/shop/ & https://www.rogacki.de/

British/American: https://www.british-american-food.de

French: http://www.leflaneur.de/

Indian/Pakistani: https://tariqfoodstore.com/

Australia/New Zealand: https://australiashopping.de

(Source for Pfand: https://liveworkgermany.com/2017/05/how-does-the-german-pfand-system-work-and-is-it-effective/ )

About the author

Hi there! I’m Juli, I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.

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