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2024 German Work Visa New Policy – Opportunity Card


In 2024, Germany introduced a significant reform in its immigration laws with the launch of the “Opportunity Card” (Chancenkarte) points-based system, designed to attract more non-EU workers with the necessary skills, especially targeting those who have not yet secured a job contract in Germany.


Background Introduction

Germany has long faced a shortage of labor, particularly in technical and professional fields. To address this issue, the German Minister of Labor, Hubertus Heil, proposed a new immigration policy: the “Opportunity Card” points-based system. The core of this policy is to lower the entry barriers for non-EU citizens to work in Germany, especially for those without a job contract in Germany.


Detailed Explanation of the “Opportunity Card” Points System

The points system will consider factors such as qualifications, professional experience, age, German language skills, and connections to Germany, like family members in the country. Quotas will be set annually based on the industries that require workers. Applicants for this program must meet three of the following four criteria:


A degree or vocational training
Three years of professional experience
Language skills or previous residence in Germany
35 years of age or younger

Currently, most non-EU citizens need a job offer before moving to Germany. Although there are visas for job seekers, the “Opportunity Card” is expected to make the job-seeking process easier and faster.


Additionally, citizens with visa agreements from certain countries can currently enter Germany without a visa for 90 days but are only allowed to engage in short-term work. The Opportunity Card will allow people to enter Germany and look for work or apprenticeship opportunities within the country, rather than applying from abroad. Applicants must be able to prove they have sufficient funds for living expenses.


Main Changes in Germany’s New Immigration Policy


Makes it easier for people with professional experience—not just university degree holders—to work in Germany.

Germany will be more open to work experience and professional qualifications recognized in the applicant’s home country.

For those without a job invitation, finding work through the Opportunity Card will become easier.

Qualified job seekers with degrees or vocational certificates will be allowed to stay in Germany for a year to look for work. During their job search, they are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week. The rules will also be relaxed for those with job offers and recognized diplomas. Wage thresholds will be lowered, it will be easier for workers to bring their families to Germany, and they will have easier access to permanent residency.

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