Work permits For Members

How Germany's 'opportunity card' will allow easier entry for foreign workers from June

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
How Germany's 'opportunity card' will allow easier entry for foreign workers from June
Pharmacist Hor Fayed 'treats' the plush toys of children from the Weingärten daycare center in the University Hospital Halle/Saale. Pharmacists and nurses are among Germany's 'bottleneck occupations', or industries facing a worsening shortage of workers. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Germany is in dire need of skilled workers. A new form of work permit launching soon will provide another route for qualified foreign nationals to come to Germany.


Starting June 1st, non-EU citizens will be allowed to come to Germany to look for a job for one year with the Chancenkarte, or Opportunity Card. 

The Chancenkarte is intended to make it easier for foreign skilled workers to immigrate to Germany and find employment.

Originally announced in 2022, the opportunity card comes as one of several immigration policy changes that the traffic-light coalition government has dreamed up to try to attract badly needed young workers. 

Another major immigration policy change came in the form of Germany’s new rules for naturalisation, which will come into effect on June 27th.

With its ageing population, Germany is estimated to need at least 400,000 new skilled workers each year to fill its growing shortage.

READ ALSO: Better childcare to quicker visas - How Germany wants to attract more workers

What is allowed with a Chancenkarte?

Germany's new Opportunity Card essentially works like a temporary visa or work permit, but with some specific limitations.

Namely, it allows foreign nationals to enter and reside in the Bundesrepublik for up to one year.

Opportunity Card holders are also permitted to work part-time jobs (up to 20 hours per week), or to take on two-week trial work. 

The idea here being that companies that need specific roles filled can hire foreign workers for part-time roles from abroad more easily – assisting their entry into Germany via the Opportunity Card. 

Alternatively, skilled workers can come to Germany to seek employment, and are then free to start work at a part-time level or on a short-term trial.

READ ALSO: Germany ranked fifth most popular destination for foreign workers

Should opportunity card holders want to work full-time, they can then apply for longer-term residency. In this case, being an Opportunity Card holder with a job offer makes one a prime candidate for a residence permit.


Who qualifies for the Chancenkarte?

The are two ways that you can qualify for an opportunity card. The first applies if you have a foreign professional or academic qualification that is fully recognised in Germany. The second is for those who have completed vocational or academic training that isn't formally recognised in Germany.

In either case, the most basic requirement for a Chancenkarte is having completed at least two years of vocational training, or having a university degree that is relevant to your vocation, as well as language skills in German or English. 

You also need to prove that you are financially secure – having enough money to finance your stay in Germany. This would amount to a little over €12,000 for the year, or it can otherwise be proven by means of an employment contract, if you already have a job offer.

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If your foreign qualifications aren't fully recognised in Germany, you can still apply for a Chancenkarte through a points-based system. In this case, your language skills, professional experience, age and connection to Germany will all be considered. Successful applicants will need to achieve at least six points according to the following qualifications:

  • 4 points are given if your foreign professional qualification is recognised in Germany, or if you have permission to practise a regulated profession (e.g. educator, nurse or engineer). Note that very few applicants meet these criteria.
  • 3 points:
    • If you have five years of professional experience in your field (within the last seven years). 
    • For B2 level German language skills.


  • 2 points:
    • If you have two years of professional experience with previous vocational training (within the last five years). 
    • If you are not older than 35 at the time your application is submitted. 
    • For B1 German language skills.
  • 1 point:
    • If you are not older than 40 at the time your application is submitted.
    • If you previously stayed in Germany for at least six months (excluding tourist stays). 
    • For C1 English language skills.
    • For A2 German language skills. 
    • If you are trained in a ‘bottleneck occupation’ (meaning an occupation where there is a shortage of workers in Germany).
    • If you apply for the opportunity together with a spouse.

You can find more information on this website, including a questionnaire to see if you are qualified.

You can apply for the Opportunity Card with the German Consulate in your country, or at your local Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany.

READ ALSO: What happens to your work permit if you lose your job in Germany?



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