Chancenkarte or Opportunity Card: What you need to know

Currently, Germany is facing a shortage of nearly 2 million skilled workers.

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

To address this, the Federal Government has introduced reformed skilled labour immigration regulations, aiming to reduce barriers to immigration and empoyment in Germany.

The new law aims to facilitate quicker and easier integration into the German labour market for skilled workers. A crucial aspect of this law is the introduction of the 'opportunity card' or 'Chancenkarte' in German.

The purpose of the opportunity card is to provide transparent information about an individual's prospect of integrating into the German labour market. In this article, we will explain how it works and explore the options available.

You are planning on coming 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 immigration law, we're here to assist you with your immigration journey. Feel free to contact us for an initial consultation!

Content:

What is an opportunity card?

The opportunity card serves as a preliminary stage of a residence permit for skilled workers. The immigration process regarding skilled workers is to be newly regulated and streamlined to address the shortages present in this field. The associated law on the further development of skilled labour immigration was passed by the Bundestag on 07 July 2023. However, the exact date of its implementation remains uncertain.

The opportunity card outlines various criteria that skilled workers must meet, including a points-based system. Those who fulfill the requirements and accumulate sufficient points can utilise the Chancenkarte to enter Germany and seek employment opportunities. Trial work and part-time positions are also included. Upon securing employment, individuals can obtain a residence permitmit.

How do I get an opportunity card?

There are two different ways to obtain the opportunity card:

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

For most people concerned, the points system is relevant. Here, points are awarded for particular knowledge, characteristics and/or qualifications according to a pre-established system. Applicants must attain a minimum of 6 points to qualify for the opportunity card.

In addition to the points system, other criteria may need to be satisfied to enhance the chances of receiving an opportunity card. These include, among others:

Securing a livelihood

It is imperative that means of subsistence be secured (§ 5 AufenthG). Expenses for necessities such as food, rent and similar must be covered without state assistance.

The responsible authorities will draw up a prognosis considering the applicant's personal assets and the expected duration of stay. Proof of sufficient means of subsistence can be provided with a declaration of commitment from a German resident or a blocked account.

The opportunity card is limited to a duration of maximum one year. During that year, opportuntiy card holders must actively be looking for full-time jobs.

Status as a skilled worker

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

  • a vocational qualification comparable to German qualified vocational training, or
  • a university degree 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 are the criteria for earning points on the opportunity card?

If you are able to earn a living but do not have a university degree, you must attain a minimum of 6 points according to the points system to qualify for an opportunity card.

Points are allocated differently for various criteria:

  • 4 points: Possession of a foreign vocational qualification equivalent to a German qualification (even if additional training is required)
  • 3 points: Minimum of 5 years of professional experience or proficient German language skills
  • 2 points: Minimum of 2 years of professional experience, adequate knowledge of German (B1 level), individuals under 35 years of age
  • 1 point: Adequate knowledge of German, residence in Germany for at least 6 months within the last 5 years, individuals aged between 35 and 40, proficient knowledge of English (C1 level), qualification corresponds to a bottleneck occupation, and spouse or registered partner also meeting the requirements for an opportunity card.
Opportunity Card

How do I apply for an Opportunity Card?

We will happily take care of the application process for the opportunity card on your behalf.

These documents are then reviewed by the responsible authority in Germany. If the application for the opportunity card is approved, the applicant will receive a temporary visa, allowing them to travel to Germany.

Once in Germany, they can apply for jobs with employers and companies and will hopefully soon find a job. With a signed employment contract, they can then apply for a long-term residence permit.

The opportunity card is initially valid for one year. Those who do not find a job during this period may be required to leave Germany. 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 law help?

Although the new Skilled Workers Immigration Act removes many hurdles and simplifies the immigration process, there are still numerous factors to consider. Immigration regulations are complex and often challenging to navigate, 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

Additionally, with the language barrier and unfamiliar legal system, the challenges of starting anew in Germany can be daunting.

As lawyers for migration, we can support you in successfully moving to Germany.

For nearly 20 years, we have been providing guidance and support to individuals seeking to come to Germany or who have recently arrived here. Our priority is to assist them comprehensively, ensuring a smooth transition. To facilitate your integration, we offer assistance with application procedures and address any legal inquiries you may have.

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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