Work & Study

A new proposal by the German Government: An opportunity visa for skilled workers starting Fall 2022

Germany is well-known for its good life quality, competitive compensation for workers, good work-life balance, and strict compliance with labor regulations. No wonder it attracts many people who want to pursue a better life and come here to continue their careers. According to some estimates, when workers come from non-EU countries, they can have an increase in their salaries by 5 to 10 times compared to what they receive in their home countries. It is all considering that the cost of living in Germany is the lowest among West European countries. However, a complicated German migration policy deters skilled workers around the world from moving there. A new German parliamentary coalition consisting of mostly left and liberal parties recently devised a proposal to solve this issue. From the side of the Government, it is also beneficial for them to mitigate the labor force shortage that the country currently has after the pandemic.

What is an Opportunity Card?

A proposal is the new type of visa – Chancenkarte or an Opportunity Card in English. It is not yet in force, but in September, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil already shared what to expect from it . Keep reading further to find out how the Opportunity Card will work and if you can benefit from it.

An Opportunity Card is a point-based system visa that allows nationals of non-EU countries to come to Germany to continue their career. It differs from existing visas because it does not require a prior work contract to enter Germany. So, you can get a visa, move to Germany and look for jobs there. A similar one also exists: a job-seeking visa allows you to look for jobs in Germany for up to six months. Still, you can work only 10 hours per week for that period. While it was not explicitly mentioned, the Opportunity Card from the governmental proposal is assumed to waive the work-hour limit. Another thing that should be noted here is that Opportunity Card visas will be issued based on a yearly quota that the Government will develop.

How does the Opportunity Card work?

The primary criterion is that a person should be highly skilled. It means either they have an experience in an area that requires vocational training or a university degree, or without professional experience, depending on a specific case—more on that in the next paragraph. A professional area can be, for example, in communication and information technologies, engineering, production, manufacturing, health care, education, finance, natural science, and many other fields that require a previous academic degree or vocational training.

Besides the above criterion, two others exist, depending on your situation. First is the easy path: your university degree or vocational training in your home country should be recognized in Germany. If that’s the case, you don’t need years of experience, German language skills, or age requirements necessary for a second path. On the other hand, suppose your degree or training certificate is not recognized in Germany. In that case, you still need to provide them along with proof of the followings:

  • Three years of professional work experience;
  • Necessary German language skills or proof that you previously stayed in Germany;
  • Be an age of under 35 years old.

In addition, for both ways of getting a visa, you need to provide evidence that you can financially sustain yourself while in Germany looking for a job. It is calculated based on the minimum living cost, which is usually around 900 EUR per month.

All the detailed regulations and terms describing the requirements are not yet developed. So we can not provide, for instance, how long a visa will last or what level of German proficiency you need. We will update you on that when the draft law becomes public. Until then, if you are already planning to move to Germany, check out flexible furnished rentals for your initial stay on our web page.

(Featured image by Christian Wiediger)

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