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I have had an EU Blue Card for a couple of years and was working as an employee for a German company while living in Germany during that time.

At the moment, I'm interested to move out of Germany to a non-EU country while keeping my job for a German company. Am I allowed to continue working for a German company while not living in Germany? Will I lose my Blue Card? Where should I pay taxes? Am I allowed to avoid paying health insurance in Germany during that time (as I'm not in Germany).

Clarification: My question is about working remotely for a German company. For example: Living in Thailand, and programming for a German company as an employee, not a contractor or freelancer.

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Partial answer:

  1. Of course, you can live wherever you want and work for a German company coming every day to the office but since Germany is surrounded by EU-countries, it is only possible if you live in Switzerland. You can work as contractor though, but I think it is not what you are asking. Another possibility is that your German company sends you to work in an other country. But that also seems to be not the case.

  2. You will lose your Blue Card after six months after leaving Germany and not re-entering it within six months (§51-7).

Answers to other two questions depend on how you work for a Germany company (as a contractor or as an employee sent to another country).

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  • Blue Card will be expired immediately, and not after 6 months, see §51-(1)-6 AufenthG. – Andrey Sapegin Feb 26 at 8:17
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What you describe is not totally impossible, but rather complicated. Please, however, note that I'm not a lawyer and by no means can give you any particular advice. Instead, I will just describe several generic problems with working remote for employer in a different country.

  1. Your residence permit (Blue Card) may expire immediately when you leave Germany with the intention to permanently live in other country, see §51 (1) Punkt 6 AufenthG.

  2. Other country may have some regulations and requirements to both you and your employer. E.g., an employer might be required to open a subsidiary there if they want you to work for them. If you can become a contractor, i.e. found a company in that non-EU country, or use a payroll company, this might solve a problem, however, you will still lose your Blue Card.

    As I already mentioned, I'm not a lawyer and have no idea about exact laws in particular non-EU countries.

  3. You may also want to found a company in Germany and convert your Blue Card to some other residence permit (for company founders, but then you need to invest relatively high amount of money and/or hire at least 5 people - sorry, I do not remember exact details). Finally, you may also get permanent residence permit after Blue Card and then found a company.

    UPDATE: it seems that there is a residence permit for freelancers (§21 (5) AufenthG), but I'm not sure about exact conditions one needs to fulfill for it.

    But even in the case of freelancer/business residence permit one will need to deal with expiration of it (avoidable if you have, for example, strong family/emergency reasons).

  4. There might also be insurance issues, e.g. if something happens to you while working, it is unclear which insurance will cover it.

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