BREAKING: Germany Announces “Opportunity Card” for Job Seekers Outside EU
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BREAKING: Germany Announces “Opportunity Card” for Job Seekers Outside EU

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BREAKING: Germany Announces “Opportunity Card” for Job Seekers Outside EU
Germany Introduces New Immigration Laws to Facilitate Job Seekers from Non-EU Countries

On June 23rd, 2023, the German Parliament announced a significant change in its immigration laws, providing opportunities for non-EU immigrants without jobs to come to Germany and have a year to find employment. This move aims to attract more individuals from outside the European Union to work in Germany and stimulate the nation’s prosperity. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) presented the government’s plan, emphasizing the need to streamline bureaucratic processes for effective implementation.

The Opportunity Card: A Path for Job Seekers:
One key innovation introduced by the new legislation is the “opportunity card” and its associated points system. The opportunity card allows foreigners without a job offer to come to Germany for a year and search for employment. However, obtaining the card requires meeting certain criteria, such as possessing a vocational qualification or university degree. Points are awarded based on factors like language skills in German and/or English, existing connections to Germany, and the potential for accompanying life partners or spouses to enter the German labor market. The opportunity card also permits casual work for up to 20 hours per week during the job search phase, including probationary employment.

Integration and Recognition:
The legislative changes also consider the integration of refugees and individuals on tourist visas. Asylum seekers with pending applications submitted before March 29, 2023, who possess the required qualifications and a job offer, will be allowed to join the labor market and access vocational training. Similarly, individuals on tourist visas will no longer be required to leave the country before returning for employment purposes.

Addressing Degree Recognition:
Degree recognition has been a significant obstacle to immigration in Germany. However, under the new legislation, skilled immigrants will no longer need to have their degrees recognized if they can demonstrate at least two years of professional experience and possess a state-recognized degree from their country of origin. This change enables individuals with job offers to start working in Germany while their degrees are being recognized.

Germany’s Skilled Worker Needs:
Germany faces a shortage of skilled workers in several sectors, including health care, social care, nursing, engineering, and education. The KOFA study reveals that approximately 60% of positions in these fields lack qualified applicants. Specific roles currently in demand include train drivers, rail traffic controllers, education workers, social workers, preschool teachers, and elderly and nursing care workers. Additionally, there is a need for skilled workers and experts in fields like metal and electrical trades, as well as individuals with university degrees.

Qualifying for the Opportunity Card Visa:
The points-based system for the opportunity card considers various factors such as qualifications, professional experience, age, German language skills, and ties to Germany. Quotas will be set annually based on industry requirements. To apply for the scheme, individuals must fulfill three out of four criteria, which include having a degree or vocational training, three years of professional experience, language skills or a previous stay in Germany, and being 35 years old or younger.

Simplified Path to Employment:
Previously, most non-EU citizens needed a job offer before relocating to Germany. While a visa for job seekers already existed, the introduction of the “chancenkarte” is expected to make the process easier and faster for individuals seeking employment in Germany.

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