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What you need to know about Germany’s ‘Green Card’ like Opportunity card (Chancenkarte)?

The German government is considering introducing its own green card to address the shortage of skilled labor. The program aims to make finding work in Germany a lot easier for non-EU nationals.

German officials are preparing to unveil their new immigration strategy in the autumn, and details of the policies it is likely to include are beginning to emerge. According to what we know so far, Besides making it easier to become a German citizen, the German government’s idea to introduce a new points-based immigration system would help migrants to come to Germany without a confirmed job offer.

Germany's opportunity card requirements

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil presented this week a new "opportunity card" that will allow foreign nationals to search for employment in Germany without a job offer, as long as they fulfill three of four requirements:

  • A university degree or professional qualification

  • Professional experience of at least three years

  • Language skill or previous residence in Germany

  • Aged under 35

There are similarities between the criteria used in Canadian points systems, but the weight system is more complex and includes limits and conditions. Depending on demand on the labor market, the German government will limit the number of cards issued each year.

With the new opportunity card, the government will introduce its own version of America's "green card," which uses a points system to target immigration to the most in-need sectors.

German opportunity cards vs. jobseeker's visas

In order to get their visa accepted, most foreign workers need a job offer from a German company. It is possible to apply for a visa for jobseekers, but the process is often long and bureaucratic. Germany allows citizens of certain countries to enter without a visa for up to 90 days, but they can't enter into long-term employment agreements.

Instead of having to apply from abroad, the Chancenkarte will make it easier for non-EU citizens to find work and get a residence permit in Germany.

A workers' plight in Germany

It is a daunting task for Germany to address its growing workforce shortage while also overhauling bureaucratic and paper-based systems that slow immigration processes. For instance, obtaining official recognition of foreign qualifications is difficult in Germany, which even discourages people from applying.

44 percent of businesses, according to a German Economic Institute report in June 2022, perceive worker shortages as a hindrance to growth. Since the survey began in 2011, this proportion has been the highest.

Germany's most staff-short industries

As shown in an IFO survey, the service sector has been hit hardest - particularly the hotel and event industries.

In the next four sectors, we see warehousing and storage, service providers, and manufacturing, especially in food, data processing equipment, machinery, and metals. A shortage of staff is also being reported by many retail businesses, construction companies, and wholesalers.

Skilled workers are in short supply in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries as well. A slight shortage is also seen in the automotive and mechanical engineering industries.

how to find a job in Germany

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