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‘Chancenkarte’ or Opportunity Card in Germany

‘Chancenkarte’ or Opportunity Card in Germany

The Chancenkarte is the new exciting law for people looking for jobs in Germany. The law was passed in November last year to attract skilled foreign employees to the country. The Opportunity Card, also known as “Chancenkarte,” is a gateway for candidates from non-EU countries to explore job prospects in Germany without the need for a permanent employment contract. This article will guide you through the essential details of the Opportunity Card, from its application process to the advantages it offers for both candidates and employers.

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Germany is intensifying its efforts to get highly qualified professionals from outside the EU. To make it simpler for foreign people to work in Germany, the nation is modifying its immigration laws.

Most non-EU citizens currently need a job offer before they can relocate to Germany. Nations with visa agreements already grant citizens visa-free entrance into Germany, but authorities only permit them to work temporarily. This law will change that.

    • The Chancenkarte or the Opportunity Card is a points-based way for interested job seekers. The law is designed to streamline the process of moving to Germany for non-EU citizens. 
    • Foreign nationals will be eligible to work in temporary or secondary jobs with this one-year job seeker visa. 
    • The bill is still in the development phase and will come into force on the June 2024.

Why is Germany inviting skilled workers from all over the world?

In Germany, the labor shortage has reached an all-time high this year. The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) discovered 1.74 million open opportunities nationwide in 2022. That is equivalent to a setback of roughly 100 billion euros.

Over half of the businesses questioned by the IFO Institute in a study last July were slowed down by employee shortages. On top of this, the population is also declining in Germany. There are more aging people with a low birth rate. This has caused an acute shortage of workers.

What does ‘skilled worker’ mean?

    • Professionally trained workers and academically trained workers are the two types of skilled workers.
    • Professionally trained skilled workers must have successfully finished an officially recognized professional training program. The training program, in accordance with German legislation, should be 2 years long at a minimum.
    • Academically trained skilled workers must hold a degree from a higher education institution. Germany must formally recognize degrees obtained in different countries.
    • Only those positions that are regarded as ‘qualified employment’ are open to skilled individuals.

What is the Opportunity Card?

The Opportunity Card allows candidates to enter Germany for job hunting without the requirement of a permanent employment contract. It is granted to skilled workers or those scoring at least six points using the points system. The means of financial support must be secured for the duration of their stay.

Required Qualifications for the Chancenkarte

According to the information available now, there will be four qualification parameters for the points system. But if you meet three of them, you’ll get a card.

    • A university degree, vocational training, or a professional qualification. The degree should be from an officially recognized institute in Germany. If not, the degree credits will have to be converted to the german standard.
    • Minimum 3 years of professional experience for any job being applied to.
    • Language skills or previous residency in Germany to check familiarity with the german language & work culture.
    • The age should be 35 years or younger.

Each year, authorities will establish a fixed quota for the number of workers required in particular industries.

Working with the Opportunity Card in Germany

The card simplifies the job search process, enabling applicants to work without undergoing a lengthy recognition procedure. To be eligible, candidates need at least two years of vocational training or a university degree and proficiency in German (A1) or English (B2). The card allows a two-week trial or part-time job (up to 20 hours a week) and a one-year stay in Germany, extendable for up to two additional years.

Prerequisites for the Opportunity Card

Candidates must accumulate six points through the points system, considering factors such as language skills, professional experience, age, and connection to Germany. Basic requirements include language skills at level A1 or B2, two years of vocational training or a recognized university degree, and proof of financial means.

Points Distribution for the Opportunity Card

A breakdown of points distribution includes four points for partial recognition of a foreign professional qualification, three points for five years of professional experience, two points for two years of professional experience with vocational training, and one point for various criteria like age, previous stays in Germany, or language proficiency.

Industries Hit by Staff shortage

The following industries have staff shortages. They are arranged in the decreasing order of shortages.

Where to Apply?

As of yet, the law is not in effect. Interested applicants can look at official sources like Make it in Germany for application details in the future.

Application Options

Option 1: Applicants with qualifications fully recognized in Germany or those who obtained their degree or qualification in Germany can apply directly for a residence permit for jobseekers under Section 20 of the Residence Act. This permit allows for an extended job search period of 18 months and the ability to work part-time without restrictions.

Option 2: Applicants who score at least six points in the points system and meet the following requirements:

    • Successful completion of vocational or academic training recognized by the respective country.
    • Vocational training must have been at least two years long.
    • Points are awarded based on age, professional experience, language proficiency, recognition of qualifications in Germany, and other factors.

Validity and Employment

The opportunity card is valid for up to one year, during which the holder must be able to sustain themselves. Holders can work up to 20 hours a week in secondary employment or participate in work trials. If the holder secures suitable employment but cannot obtain another resident title, they may renew the card for an additional two years.

Advantages of the Opportunity Card for Candidates

Candidates benefit from a simplified entry into Germany, a 12-month stay with the prospect of a permanent residence permit, the possibility of earning over 1000 euros per month, a work permit for up to 20 hours per week, and increased chances of finding a qualified part-time or full-time job.

Advantages of the Opportunity Card for Employers

Employers can tap into a larger applicant pool, simplified entry procedures, no requirement for approval from the Federal Employment Agency, and streamlined procedures for fast-track entry into employment. Before entry, individuals can conclude contracts for simple jobs (up to 20 hours per week at minimum wage).

The Chancenkarte will allow workers to expand their current abilities while advancing in their careers in Germany. Not only are there well-paying jobs and favorable working conditions, Germany is also a favorable place for families. The standard of living and the reliable & affordable education make it so. This new bill will also make it easy for people to get German citizenship.

The Chancenkarte or Opportunity Card is a game-changer for both candidates and employers, offering a simplified pathway to explore job opportunities in Germany. By understanding the application process and adhering to key guidelines, individuals can make the most of this unique opportunity to advance their careers in a new and promising environment.

Conclusion

The Chancenkarte, or Opportunity Card, presents a transformative opportunity for job seekers and employers alike in Germany. Introduced to address labor shortages and attract skilled professionals from outside the EU, this program streamlines the process of job hunting without requiring a permanent contract. Applicants must meet certain qualifications, including education, language proficiency, and professional experience. The card facilitates a simplified job search process, allowing for temporary or part-time work and a one-year stay in Germany, extendable for up to two additional years. Industries facing staff shortages stand to benefit, and interested candidates can anticipate simplified entry procedures and increased chances of finding employment. With its promise of simplified pathways and promising prospects, the Chancenkarte heralds a new era of opportunity in Germany.

Read more at How To Abroad:

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