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How to easily immigrate to Germany: The Opportunity Card (Chancekarte)

With the shortage of highly qualified workers, Germany is actively looking to overcome this with the German Opportunity Card, also known as the Chancenkarte. This Card will open the path for an easier way to immigrate to Germany.

This permit will allow non-EU citizens to enter and live in Germany, and look for job opportunities in their speciality. The new Skilled Immigration Act (FEG) makes it easier for skilled workers with vocational training and individuals with practical knowledge to immigrate to Germany.

With the new law, existing mechanisms for skilled workers with a university degree, such as the EU Blue Card, will continue and in some cases be extended. In addition, a new opportunity card (Chancenkarte) will enable third-country nationals to seek employment.

The new law has several parts. The provisions will be phased in from November 2023. Here is an initial overview of the planned amendments:

What are the advantages of applying for the Chancekarte for non-EU countries?

Applicants from non-EU countries had to show a permanent employment contract or be considered a recognised skilled worker in order to work in Germany. Complicated entry procedures hinder the immigration of qualified workers from abroad.

The Opportunity Card (“Chancenkarte”) is designed to make sure these applicants from non-EU countries are guaranteed a 12-month stay in Germany through the Opportunity Card in order to look for a job stated Chancekarte website.

Key advantages of the Opportunity Card

  1. Easy and fast entry into Germany is possible – If you apply for the Opportunity Card, you do not require a permanent employment contract in advance. You can simply use the points system to prove your existing qualifications (e.g. language skills or work experience). This eliminates the need for a complicated examination procedure.

    The Opportunity Card permits you to stay in Germany for one year to look for a suitable job. Part-time or casual jobs of up to 20 hours a week are possible, as well as two-week trial jobs. With the Opportunity Card, you can get to know your new employer at your leisure and look for a job that suits you and your qualifications.
  2. Possibility of permanent residence in Germany – The residence permit with the Opportunity Card is limited to one year as its primary purpose is for you to find a job. In addition to an unlimited number of trial jobs, part-time jobs of up to 20 hours a week are also possible, which can be divided up flexibly.

    Once you have found a suitable job, it is possible to extend your stay. For this purpose, you must also submit an application to the competent Foreigners’ Registration Office. If you intend to change from part-time to a full-time job, you have a good chance of obtaining a longer residence title.

    This is also possible if you wish to remain in part-time employment. Written proof, such as an agreement with your employer or a permanent employment contract, is important for extending your stay in Germany.
  3. Securing your livelihood with a good income – The Opportunity Card allows part-time employment on the basis of the minimum wage (or above). This is currently 12.00 euros gross per hour (as of May 2023). With a part-time job (20 hours per week), you can earn above 1000 euros per month. If you want to change to a full-time job, your net income will rise to well over 1000 euros a month.

    The earning potential depends on the sector you want to work in and your qualifications. With the Opportunity Card, you have a good chance of earning a fair wage so you can easily finance your everyday life in Germany.
  4. Guaranteed work permit – Until now, workers from non-EU countries have needed a visa to enter Germany and work here. This requires an existing job offer as the Federal Employment Agency often has to approve your stay. If you are not a recognised skilled worker, you can come to Germany with the Opportunity Card to look for a job locally.
  5. Good chance of a qualified part-time/full-time job – As part of the Opportunity Card, you have the possibility to apply for two-week trial work (an unlimited number of times) or part-time work of up to 20 hours a week. If you find suitable employment during your stay, you have the prospect of a qualified part-time or full-time job.

    In order to be able to seek a full-time job in the future, you must change your residence title. The Opportunity Card only authorises you to look for a job in Germany. For a longer stay, you must apply for a corresponding residence title at your local Foreigners’ Registration Office. This should not be a problem if you can show proof of a future job offer or an employment contract.

Where can I apply for the Chancekarte 2023 Opportunity card?

You can apply for the Opportunity Card either at the Foreigners’ Registration Office or at the competent German mission abroad in your country of origin (for example at the German Embassy).

If you are already in Germany, simply submit the application to the relevant local Foreigners’ Registration Office – In this case, please note that you must already be in possession of a valid residence permit or visa.

What is the procedure for applying for the Chancekarte Opportunity Card?

You can apply for the Opportunity Card at the competent German mission abroad in your country of origin.

How do you qualify for the Chancenkarte in Germany? in 2023?

To obtain the Opportunity Card, you only have to prove that you have;

  • Completed (at least) two years of vocational training or a university degree
  • Have basic knowledge of German (A1) or English (B2)
  • Ability to finance your own living expenses in Germany
  • Have at least 6 points against the requirements you meet
  • You can prove your financial security by means of an employment contract for a part-time job (up to 20 hours per week)
  • professional experience
  • Age – The age criterion refers to your age at the time of application.
  • “Connection to Germany”

The responsible authority checks to what extent the applicant meets the criteria (based on the points system). Applicants should carry appropriate proof (employment references, certificates) with them. You can prove residence with the help of rental contracts, employment contracts or utility bills, for example.

When can I apply for the German Opportunity Card in 2023/4?

You can apply for the Opportunity Card from 01 June 2024 at the local Foreigners’ Registration Office or the relevant German mission abroad in your country of origin.

What are the points distribution for the German Opportunity Card (Chancekarte)?

  • Basic requirements: Sufficient German language skills at level A1 or English language skills at level B2 as well as at least two years of vocational training according to the rules of the country of origin. You must also have sufficient financial means. Proof of this can be in the form of an employment contract for a part-time job (up to 20 hours per week).
  • Four points for partial recognition of a foreign professional qualification or for obtaining permission to practice a regulated profession (e.g., teacher, nurse, or engineer). Very few applicants meet these criteria.
  • Three points for possessing five years of professional experience (within the last seven years) in the learned profession, coupled with two years of prior professional training in accordance with the rules of the country of origin. Alternatively, you receive three points for good German language skills at level B2.
  • Two points for achieving two years of professional experience following vocational training within the last five years. If you are not older than 35, you also get two points.
    Achieving German language skills at level B1 earns the candidate two points.
  • Applicants under 40 years old receive one point, as do those with a previous stay in Germany. You must provide documented proof of this. Previous stays as a tourist do not count.
  • One point for demonstrating very good English proficiency (C1), reasonable proficiency in German (A2), completing vocational training/university degree in a field with an official labor shortage in Germany, or applying for the Opportunity Card jointly with your spouse.

What are the new immigration rules in Germany?

Firstly, applicants who meet all requirements will now qualify for a residence permit. Secondly, the restriction that limits individuals to working based solely on the skills acquired with the professional qualification will be lifted.