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Germany introduces Opportunity Card to entice non-EU workers – DW – 06/01/2024

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As of Saturday, skilled workers from outside the European Union will be able to move to Germany and seek work for up to a year if they fulfill the right criteria.

The new visa scheme is part of part of a package of legislation that aims to remedy Germany’s acute shortage of skilled labor.

“We are ensuring that workers and skilled workers that our economy has urgently needed for years can come to our country,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Saturday.

What is the new scheme?

People can apply for the so-called Opportunity Card, known as the Chancenkarte in German, if they have had at least two years of vocational training or possess a university degree recognized in the country it was obtained in.

They must also have knowledge of German or English.

Eligibility for the scheme will be decided according to a points system on the basis of an applicant’s language skills, professional experience, age and ties to Germany. At least six points are required to obtain a card.

If an applicant receives a card, she or he will be able to enter Germany and look for a job for up to year. During that time, participants in the scheme can work up to 20 hours a week in part-time or trial jobs.

The scheme removes the necessity for non-EU residents wanting to work in Germany to present a contract with a German company before being permitted to enter the country.

Special West Balkan scheme

From Saturday, opportunities for jobseekers from the Western Balkans have also been expanded, including for non-skilled workers. 

Instead of the previous 25,000, up to 50,000 nationals from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia will have access to the German labor market without having to present any professional qualifications.

However, people from the West Balkan countries will still require a contract with a German company to be able to enter Germany.

tj/wd (dpa, epd)

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