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Germany’s Opportunity Card to make it easier for skilled workers to work in Germany

Berlin Germany
Berlin, Germany

Starting June 1, 2024, Germany has introduced new regulations under the reformed Skilled Labour Immigration Act to attract more skilled workers from non-EU countries. The new Opportunity Card, also known as the Chancenkarte, is now available, providing an easier pathway for professionals in engineering, information technology (IT), and healthcare to seek employment in Germany.

Germany requires approximately 400,000 skilled employees annually to address its labour shortages in specialised fields. With the introduction of the Opportunity Card, the country aims to attract talent from around the world to fill these critical gaps. The card allows skilled workers from third countries to enter Germany and search for employment without pre-existing job offers, streamlining the immigration process.

Eligibility for the Opportunity Card

To qualify for the Opportunity Card, applicants must meet specific educational and skill requirements. They need to hold either a degree from a foreign university or a vocational qualification of at least two years’ duration, recognised in the country where the study took place, or a vocational qualification issued by a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate basic German language skills (A1 level) or English proficiency (B2 level).

The selection process for the Opportunity Card is based on a points system. Points are awarded for qualifications, language skills, work experience, age, connections to Germany, and the career potential of any partner moving to Germany. Applicants need a minimum of six points to qualify for the Opportunity Card.

Flexibility for Job Seekers and Families

With the Opportunity Card, skilled workers can take up two-week trial jobs or part-time jobs of up to 20 hours per week, an increase from the previous 10 hours. This change facilitates easier access to the job market and provides a practical way for newcomers to integrate into the German workforce.

For first-time recipients, the residence permit associated with the Opportunity Card has been extended to 24 months, up from the previous 18 months. This initial permit can be further extended for an additional 12 months, allowing for a maximum residency period of three years. These extensions provide skilled workers ample time to complete adaptation measures and secure long-term employment.

Spouses or minor children joining skilled workers in Germany will no longer have to prove they have sufficient living space. This change is intended to make it easier for families to move together and settle in their new environment.