Working as a returning expert – Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Would you like to apply for a position as a returning expert, but still have unanswered questions about the requirements, general conditions and application process?

Who can apply for a position as a returning expert?

To apply for a position as a returning expert, you must:

  • be a national of a developing country, emerging economy or transition economy or have a migration background* from one of these countries;
  • have studied or trained in Germany or have at least two years’ professional experience in Germany;
  • be resident in Germany;
  • be keen to return to a partner country that is part of our returning expert programme (Albania, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestinian territories, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Ukraine, Tunisia, Viet Nam);
  • be keen to work in a field with a development focus in the country of origin of the employer.

*For the purposes of this programme, the term ‘migration background’ applies to anyone who was not born in the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany and who subsequently immigrated to Germany and became a German citizen.

What support does CIM provide for returning experts?

CIM offers the following support:

  • Job placement service
  • Top-up on your local salary
  • Training allowances
  • Paid travel and relocation expenses
  • Workplace equipment
  • Individual advice on returning to your home country and career planning
  • Local support network

What do you mean when you say that the job must have a ‘development focus’?

Through our returning experts programme, we aim to strengthen local structures that contribute to the partner country’s development – particularly in the priority sectors of German development cooperation. Guidance is available on BMZ’s website.

The country I would like to travel to is not one of the programme’s partner countries. Can I still apply for financial assistance?

No, that is not possible. The job must be in one of the ‘returning expert’ partner countries listed above.

My parents were born in one of the partner countries in the list, but I was born in Germany. Can I still apply for support?

Experts with a migration background but who were born in Germany can, in individual cases, also apply for support. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The development focus of the planned assignment is a crucial factor in all decisions.

Can I apply for support in one partner country even though I am a national of another developing country or emerging economy?

That is possible, in principle, and would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Here, too, the development focus of the planned assignment is the crucial factor.

As a returning expert, how can I best prepare for my departure?

We recommend that you start making preparations at least six months before your planned relocation date. If you intend to travel to one of the programme’s partner countries, contact CIM in Germany personally or contact your designated returning expert coordinator. It is also useful to attend an information event.

Where can I find out about upcoming information events?

We organise regular information events and country seminars. You can find an overview of all events scheduled as part of the programme on our events page.

Information events and dates

I have already found a job in a partner country. What financial support can I claim and how can I apply?

If your position is in a field with a development focus, you can apply for a travel and transport subsidy and a salary top-up. However, you must register online before your departure.

Will my personal application details be passed on to third parties?

Your details will only be used internally to process your application and will not be passed on to outside third parties without your consent (see the data protection statement in the application form).

How long will it take to process my application for financial support?

Once you have submitted your application together with all the necessary documents, processing will normally take a few weeks. Your application will not be processed until we have received all your documents. Once your application has been processed, we will inform you by email.

What is a subsidy agreement?

A subsidy agreement is an agreement under private law that is entered into by the returning expert and CIM/GIZ in the case of a positive decision. The subsidy agreement sets out all the terms and conditions for the receipt of financial support. It must be signed by both sides.

I am due to depart shortly but still have not found a job in my target country. Can I submit another application for financial support as part of the returning experts programme at a later date?

Yes. If you find a job in a field with a development focus within 12 months of leaving Germany, we will be happy to assess whether you can receive a salary top-up. However, for us to do so, you must have registered with us before you leave Germany.

I would like to return to work for the employer I previously worked for before my time in Germany. Is that possible?

Support can be provided if you choose to return to work for a previous employer in your country of origin. However, you would have to take on a more senior position than your previous job – for example, a management position.

I would like to work as a returning expert in my country of origin, but have yet to find a job or an employer. Can I still apply to CIM?

Absolutely. CIM supports returning experts who have already found a job in a field with a development focus as well as those who are still looking for employment. It offers job-hunting assistance where required and can place candidates with suitable employers.

Information events and dates

I have a scholarship that already reimburses the travel and transport expenses for my outward journey. Can I claim additional financial support for relocation from CIM?

No, that is not possible. Not even if travel and transport costs are not covered for your family. If you meet the necessary requirements, however, we will gladly assess whether you are eligible for a salary top-up.

When do I receive the lump-sum allowance for travel and transport expenses, and what evidence and receipts or vouchers do I have to submit? What else should I bear in mind?

Payment is made once we receive the original subsidy agreement, signed by the returning expert, and all the relevant documents and supporting evidence. This includes confirmation of emigration, a copy of your air ticket or boarding cards and the corresponding invoice, complete bank details and a certified copy of your passport. You must also contact the designated coordinator in your country of origin by email or by telephone.

I am now working in my country of origin and am receiving support from the programme. Who is my local CIM contact?

As a general rule, your first point of contact should always be the designated returning expert coordinator. He/she will gladly help you directly or, where necessary, refer you to the appropriate member of the CIM team in Eschborn.

When I return to my country of origin, I would like to start my own business instead of working for someone else. Can I receive financial support to start my own business?

Yes, financial support can be provided to start a business in certain circumstances. This applies only to selected partner countries, however. Further information can be found on

If I grant power of attorney to someone else, can this person handle correspondence and sign forms for me here in Germany?

No, that is not possible.

Is the salary top-up transferred to my personal bank account or to my employer?

The salary top-up is generally only transferred to your personal bank account.

Can the financial subsidies be paid into to my German account? Or the account of a person I trust?

Financial subsidies can be paid into a foreign or a German account. It is generally faster to transfer them to a German account. However, the money cannot be transferred to another person’s account.

What do I need to bear in mind for transfers to my foreign account?

You need to send us correct and complete details of your bank account. We do NOT need the details of a reference bank in Germany via which the money is transferred to the foreign bank. The money is transferred by us automatically via the appropriate reference bank. Depending on the country and bank, transfers can take between several days and several weeks.

Who pays the transfer charges?

All transfer charges are payable by the returning expert.

Further information


If your question has not been answered, you can also contact us directly. Please send an email to: