The German government recently announced the term “Chancenkarte” which basically means – Opportunity card.
06.07.2023 – The new immigration law will be effective on March 1st, 2024.
23.06.2023 – A new Immigration Law in Germany includes the approval of the Opportunity card.
23.02.2023 – A draft bill of the proposed opportunity card was presented and updated on the official website.Link to the official draft
This is a great initiative by the government of Germany to bring in skilled labor to fill the ever-increasing demand for skilled workforce in Germany.
According to a recent survey, Germany is lacking approximately 400,000 skilled laborers every year.
The opportunity card could come as a savior that can bridge the gap of demand and supply of the skilled workforce in Germany.
What is an Opportunity card?
An opportunity card is a new regulated way of attracting skilled workers from non-EU countries to Germany.
Back in September 2022, The German government announced the plan to launch a new way of attracting international talents to Germany and coined the term Opportunity card (Chancenkarte).
When can you start applying?
The opportunity card is a new type of visa that is yet to be implemented.
You can expect to have this publicly available by late 2023. As per the latest news, the opportunity card and other new immigration laws will be applicable effective March 2024.
Germany Opportunity Card Points Calculator
Whether you’re a skilled professional, entrepreneur, or someone looking to explore new horizons, understanding your eligibility and points can be a game-changer.
This interactive calculator is not just a set of input boxes and numbers; it’s your personalized guide to unlocking opportunities in Germany.
Simply input your details, and let the calculator do the rest.
Note: As per the official information, you need at least 6 points to be eligible for the Opportunity card.
Eligibility criteria for an opportunity card
Opportunity card or Chancenkarte is a point-based system and you must acquire at least 6 points to be eligible.
Below is a detailed explanation of how you can acquire these points:
|1. Foreign Professional Qualification|
Points are awarded if you have a foreign professional qualification and a German authority has determined that you need additional training or qualifications to equate it to a German one.
a) Points for proving that your foreign qualification is equivalent to a German one.
b) Points for getting permission to practice a regulated profession in Germany.
|2. Good German Language Skills|
Points are awarded if you can prove you have good German language skills.
|3. Sufficient German Language Skills|
Points are awarded for having sufficient German language skills, unless you already get points for having good German language skills (as per point 2).
|4. English Language Skills at C1 Level|
Points are awarded if you have English language skills at the C1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
|5. Five Years of Professional Experience|
Points are awarded if you have at least five years of work experience related to your qualification or degree in the last seven years.
|6. Two Years of Professional Experience|
Points are awarded if you have at least two years of work experience related to your qualification or degree in the last five years and don’t qualify for points under point 5.
|7. Age Below 35|
Points are awarded if you are not older than 35 years when applying for the Chancenkarte.
|8. Age Between 35 and 40|
Points are awarded if you are older than 35 but not older than 40 when applying for the Chancenkarte.
|9. Six Months in Germany|
Points are awarded if you have legally stayed in Germany for at least six months in the last five years. Short breaks are okay as long as Germany remains your main place of residence.
|10. Spouse or Partner Eligibility|
Points are awarded if your spouse or registered partner also meets the criteria for the Chancenkarte and either applies for one or plans to move to Germany with you.
With the new immigration law in Germany, the Opportunity card has got some additional criterias and it is now also possible to extend the validity of the opportunity card for upto 2 years.
Benefits of Opportunity Card for Germany
The opportunity card will definitely help Germany in attracting skilled foreign labor.
Companies in Germany usually prefer candidates who are already residing in Germany or at least in the European Union.
With the implementation of the opportunity card, talented professionals who are willing to work in Germany can move to Germany even without having an offer in hand.
This is similar to what the existing Jobseeker visa offers. Read further to understand the exact difference between the opportunity card and the jobseeker visa.
Drawbacks of the German Opportunity Card
Some of the shortcomings of the opportunity card are:
- There will be an upper limit on how many opportunity cards will be allocated in a year. It basically means that there will be more applicants and less number of visas available each year under this category.
- Not everyone is eligible for a visa under this scheme. You will be eligible only if you meet certain eligibility criteria as listed previously.
- It might lead to additional verifications and bureaucracy leading to longer wait times for visa approval.
- If you are an IT professional, you can usually get an English-speaking job in Germany. But, the eligibility criteria of the opportunity card will force you to learn German even if you might not need German proficiency in your job.
- The age limit of 35 years is also a bit harsh criteria in my opinion.
Do you have further questions?
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Opportunity card v/s Employment visa
Let’s see how an opportunity card differs from an employment visa for Germany.
|Opportunity card||Employment visa|
|This is a type of visa that is yet to be implemented.||The employment visa is an already existing type of visa.|
|An opportunity card is similar to a JobSeeker visa that you apply for when you do not have a job offer from Germany.||The employment visa is applied when you already have a job offer/contract from Germany.|
|You must satisfy the eligibility criteria to apply for the opportunity card.||To apply for the employment visa, you just need to have a job offer from Germany and a valid degree certificate recognized by Germany.|
|There is a limit to how many opportunity cards will be allotted each year.||There is theoretically no limit on the number of employment visas that can be allotted each year.|
|Knowledge of the German language will improve your chances of getting this visa.||German language proficiency is not required to get an employment visa.|
On a high level, an Employment visa is applied when you already have a job offer from Germany, and the opportunity card visa is applied when you want to go to Germany and search for a job.
Opportunity card v/s Blue card
A blue card is an already existing visa type that is given to highly qualified professionals who earn a minimum salary in Europe. Below are the major differences b/w an opportunity card and a blue card:
|Opportunity card||Blue card|
|This visa type will apply when you wish to travel to Germany and search for a job there.||A Blue card is a type of visa/residence permit that you get only after you secure a job in Germany / Europe.|
|Opportunity card is valid only within Germany.||A Blue card is valid throughout Europe.|
|The opportunity card is applied when you are still in your home country. E.g: India||An actual blue card is applied once you are in Germany on your Employment visa.|
|There is no requirement for a minimum salary to apply for this visa.||Blue card comes with a minimum salary requirement.|
|Prior stay in Germany or the knowledge of the German language will help in getting this visa.||Prior stay in Germany or knowledge of the German language is usually not required for the Blue card application.|
Opportunity card v/s Jobseeker visa
Both the opportunity card and the jobseeker visa gives you the ability to travel to Germany without a job offer. Below are some of the major differences between the two types of visa:
|Opportunity card||Jobseeker visa|
|This is yet to be implemented.||Jobseeker visa is an existing type of visa.|
|German language proficiency might be needed to apply for this visa (depending on your eligibility criteria)||German language proficiency is not required for this visa.|
|An Opportunity card gives you 12 months’ time to search for a job in Germany. Under certain circumstances, an opportunity card can be extended for up to 2 more years.||A Jobseeker visa gives you 6 months to search for a job in Germany.|
|An opportunity card can be granted to degree holders and professionals with a minimum 3 years of experience.||A Jobseeker visa is usually granted to highly skilled professionals with a work experience of 5 years or more.|
|There will be a limit on how many opportunity cards are allotted each year.||There is theoretically no age restriction to apply for a jobseeker visa.|
|You don’t have to show positive responses from employers before applying for this visa.||You need to show positive responses from employers in Germany while applying for a JSV.|
|There is no clarity around the bank balance requirement to apply for this visa.||You need to maintain an average balance of at least USD 7500 in your bank account.|
|There is a limit to how many opportunity cards will be allotted each year.||There is no official information about how many jobseeker visa can be allotted each year.|
|The opportunity card allows you to work and earn a side income (up to 30 hours/week) until you get a full-time job contract.||The jobseeker visa doesn’t allow the visa holder to work part-time.|
I personally feel that the opportunity card is a great initiative by the German government.
We definitely need more clarity around the eligibility criteria and how to apply for this visa to comment further on this whole topic.
Once we have the clarity and the process in place, we will have a better idea about the benefits of this new type of visa.
In general, it is good news for all those who are willing to migrate to Germany and work in the largest economy in Europe.
The more options we have, the better the chances of getting accepted for one or the other type of visa.
So, let’s wait and watch how this new visa goes through the various stages of approval and when it becomes available to millions of talented jobseekers out there. We expect to have better clarity by the end of 2023.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
FAQs about the Opportunity Card
The Opportunity Card is a new type of visa aimed at attracting skilled workers from non-EU countries to Germany. It’s part of a new immigration law that will be effective from March 1, 2024.
The Opportunity Card is expected to be publicly available by late 2023, with the new immigration laws becoming effective in March 2024.
You must acquire at least 6 points based on various criteria like professional qualifications, language skills, and age to be eligible for the Opportunity Card.
Unlike the Employment Visa, which requires a job offer from Germany, the Opportunity Card allows you to move to Germany to search for a job.
The card allows you to work part-time until you secure a full-time job. It also makes it easier for companies in Germany to hire candidates who are already in the country.
There will be an upper limit on the number of Opportunity Cards issued each year. Additional verifications and bureaucracy might lead to longer wait times for visa approval.
The Blue Card is for highly qualified professionals who already have a job in Germany or Europe, while the Opportunity Card is for those who wish to move to Germany to search for a job.
Points are awarded if you are not older than 35 years when applying for the Opportunity Card. Additional points are given if you are between 35 and 40 years old.
The Opportunity Card gives you 12 months to search for a job in Germany and can be extended for up to 2 more years under certain circumstances.
Points are awarded for good or sufficient German language skills and for English language skills at the C1 level.
Anoop is a German PR holder and a Software Engineering manager with over 12 years of experience in the IT industry. He worked for several renowned IT companies in India and many startups in Germany. Anoop was featured on YourStory Germany, Zeit Online, Imagine Foundation, Tech Job Fairs Berlin, and many other platforms.
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