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The Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte) for jobseekers in Germany

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From June 2024 the Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte) opens new ways for foreign nationals to find a job in Germany.

The Opportunity Card is initially issued as a job search permit for up to one year, giving the applicant the opportunity to seek employment in Germany.  Applicants from non-EU countries are guaranteed a 12-month stay in Germany through the Opportunity Card to look for a job.

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).

Eligibility requirements

You will be eligible for the Opportunity Card if you have a foreign professional or academic qualification that is fully recognized in Germany, or if you obtained your university degree or professional qualification in Germany.

Alternatively, you could also be eligible if you score a minimum of 6 points in the points system, in addition to meeting the following requirements:

  • You have successfully completed vocational or academic training which is recognized by the country in which you obtained it. Your vocational qualification must have required at least two years of vocational training.
  • You have either German language skills of at least level A1 or English language skills of at least level B2.

For both options, you must be able to prove that you can cover your living costs. You can demonstrate this ability with a blocked bank account or a declaration of commitment.

Points system

The points system is only relevant to you if you are unable to demonstrate that you have a German qualification or that your foreign qualification has been fully recognised. Under the system, points are awarded to applicants who meet various criteria, contributing to their overall score. You must reach a total of six points to secure the Opportunity Card.

Points for education:

  • 4 points: Diplomas and qualifications partly recognized by Germany.
  • 3 points: 5+ years of work experience in the past 7 years in your qualified field.
  • 2 points: 2+ years of work experience in the past 5 years in your qualified field.

1 bonus point is awarded if you have vocational training in one of Germany´s bottleneck professions, which include education, nursing and other health professions, crafts, construction professions, metal and mechanical engineering, and information technology.

Points for language skills:

  • 3 points: German Level B2 and above.
  • 2 points: German Level B1.
  • 1 point: German Level A1 – A2.
  • 1 bonus point: English Level C1 and above.

Points for age:

  • 2 points: Under 35 years.
  • 1 point: Between 35 – 40 years.

Points for ties to Germany:

  • 1 point: Previous stays in Germany of at least 6 months in the past 5 years.

Points for spouse:

  • 1 point: If you plan to move to Germany with your spouse, who is also eligible and planning on applying for the Chancenkarte.

Advantages of the Opportunity Card

The Opportunity Card offers many benefits to the holder, including:

Easy and fast entry into Germany:

Faster entry is possible because 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 application procedure.

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 must approve your stay. If you are not a recognized skilled worker, you can come to Germany with the Opportunity Card to look for a job locally.

Possibility of permanent residence in Germany:

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.

Securing your livelihood with a good income:

The Opportunity Card allows part-time employment at the minimum wage (or above). This is currently 12.41 euros gross per hour (as of 01.01.2024). With a part-time job (20 hours per week), you can earn above 1,000 euros per month.

If you want to change to a full-time job, your net income will rise to well over 1,000 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.

Good chance of a qualified part-time/full-time job:

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. If you find suitable employment during your stay, you have the prospect of a qualified part-time or full-time job.

To be able to seek a full-time job in the future, you must change your residence title. The Opportunity Card only authorizes 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.

Support with your German visa application

If you are looking to relocate to Germany and require support with the visa process, Smith Stone Walters can help.

Our German immigration experts based in Frankfurt can help assess your eligibility for various routes and support with the preparation and submission of your visa application. To speak to an advisor, please contact us today.

 

Disclaimer: In accordance with the German law governing legal advice and services (RDG, section 2 subsection 1) our services do not include any legal advice.

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