Chancenkarte or Opportunity Card: What you need to know

Today, Germany already has a shortage of almost 2 million skilled workers.

opportunity card
Do you have further questions about the opportunity card? We are here for you. Contact us by e-mail: kontakt@ra-maibaum.de or by phone at: +49 (0) 221 598 13 595

To change this, the Federal Government has reformed the regulations on skilled labour immigration and lowered the barriers to immigration and finding work in Germany.

The new law is intended to give skilled workers the opportunity to gain a foothold in the German labour market more quickly and easily. An important component of the law is the opportunity card or in German called Chancenkarte.

This is intended to provide transparent information on how good the chances are of integrating into the German labour market. In this article we show you how this works and what options are available.

You want to come to Germany or are already here? Starting over in a foreign country is always a challenge and involves a lot of effort and legal hurdles. As experienced lawyers for migration law, we are happy to help you with your immigration. Feel free to contact us for an initial consultation!

Content:

What is an opportunity card?

The opportunity card is basically a preliminary stage of a residence permit for immigrant workers. This immigration is to be newly regulated and facilitated in order to combat the shortage of skilled workers. The associated law on the further development of skilled labour immigration was passed by the Bundestag on 07 July 2023. It is still unclear when exactly it can come into force.

The opportunity card strategy is based on a variety of criteria that skilled workers must fulfill, including a points system. Those who meet the criteria and collect enough points can then use the Chancenkarte to enter Germany and look for a job there. Trial work and part-time jobs are also possible. Once you have found a job, you can get a residence permit.

How do I get an opportunity card?

There are two different ways to get the opportunity card:

  1. You have at least 6 points in the points system (see below).
  2. You will be granted the Opportunity Card after an assessment of your individual situation (for example, a university degree).

For most people concerned, the points system is usually relevant. Here, points are awarded for various knowledge, characteristics and qualifications according to a set system. For example, applicants must get at least 6 points to qualify for the opportunity card.

In addition to the points system, there can and should be other criteria that must be fulfilled in order to increase the prospect of an opportunity card. These are, among others:

Securing a livelihood

It is imperative that the means of subsistence be secured (§ 5 AufenthG). Costs for food, rent and the like must be covered without state assistance.

The competent authorities draw up a prognosis which takes into account the applicant's own assets and the expected duration of stay. For this purpose, proof can be provided, for example, of a declaration of commitment or a blocked account. In the case of the opportunity card, this is a maximum of one year. In addition, not only part-time jobs may be accepted; those affected must actively look for full-time jobs.

Status as a skilled worker

Anyone can apply for a residence title as a "skilled worker" with a recognised degree/professional qualification. The prerequisite for this is:

  • a vocational qualification that is comparable to a German qualified vocational training, or
  • a university degree that is comparable to a German degree (§ 18 para. 3 AufenthG).

Those who meet these requirements no longer have to follow the points system, but can apply directly for a visa to seek work.

Basic language skills

Applicants should have at least "basic language skills" in German. This corresponds to an A1 level to enter Germany.

What do you get points for on the opportunity card?

If you are able to earn a living but do not have a university degree, you must have at least 6 points according to the points system in order to receive an opportunity card. 

There are different numbers of points for different areas: 

  • 4 points: a foreign vocational qualification that is equivalent to a German qualification (even if additional training is necessary).
  • 3 points: at least 5 years of professional experience or good German language skills
  • 2 points: at least 2 years of professional experience, sufficient knowledge of German (B1 level), persons under 35 years of age
  • 1 point: sufficient knowledge of German, lived in Germany for at least 6 months in the last 5 years, persons between 35 and 40 years of age, good knowledge of English (C1 level), qualification corresponds to a bottleneck occupation, spouse or registered partner also meet the requirements for an opportunity card
Opportunity Card

How do I apply for an Opportunity Card?

We take care of the application for the opportunity card for you.

These documents are then checked by the competent authority in Germany. If the application for the opportunity card is approved, the applicant will then receive a temporary visa with which he/she can travel to Germany.

In Germany, he/she can apply for a job with employers and companies and, in the best case, will soon find a job. With a signed employment contract, they can then apply for a long-term residence title.

The opportunity card is initially valid for one year. Those who do not find a job during this time may have to leave Germany again. However, the opportunity card can be extended for two years. However, this requires an employment contract or an offer for a qualified job.

How can a specialised lawyer for migration and aliens law help?

Even though the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act removes many hurdles and makes the process of immigration easier, there is still a lot to consider. Immigration regulations are complex and often difficult to understand, even for German speakers.

opportunity card
Do you need support? We can help you fill out the applications or answer open questions about the legal situation. Contact us by e-mail: kontakt@ra-maibaum.de or by phone at: +49 (0) 221 598 13 595

Add to this the language barrier and a completely new legal system, and the challenges for a good start in Germany are very great.

As lawyers for migration and aliens law, we can support you in successfully immigrating to Germany.

We have been assisting and advising people who want to come to Germany or have recently arrived here for almost 20 years.

In doing so, it is important to us to support them in the best possible way and every step of the way. To make your start in a foreign country easier, we help you, for example, with filling out applications or answer open questions about the legal situation.

Conclusion: The most important facts at a glance

  • Germany has a shortage of almost 2 million skilled workers; the Federal Government has therefore reformed the regulations on skilled labour immigration.
  • An important part of the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act is the "Chancenkarte", which is intended to make it easier for qualified workers to enter the German labour market.
  • The Chancenkarte is a preliminary stage of a residence title and is based on a points system and other criteria such as livelihood security and status as a skilled worker.
  • There are two ways to obtain the Chancenkarte: Either by accumulating at least 6 points in the point system or by an individual assessment, e.g. based on a university degree.
  • In addition to the points system, other criteria are important for the Chancenkarte: secure livelihood, status as a skilled worker (with comparable qualifications) and basic German language skills (A1 level).
  • The Chance Card can be applied for via a future online portal and is initially valid for one year. It can be extended for two years if an employment contract or job offer is available.

Despite easier regulations, the laws are complex and can be difficult for immigrants to understand. Legal advice from specialised lawyers helps to get off to a good start in Germany. Contact us at any time for a non-binding consultation!

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Picture credits: Andriy Popov | stadtratte | pantermedia.net

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