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How many skilled workers will immigrate to Germany with the Opportunity Card?

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
How many skilled workers will immigrate to Germany with the Opportunity Card?
Nancy Faeser (SPD, center), Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, and Hubertus Heil (SPD, 2nd from right), Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, speak with employees during a company visit to Siemens Healthineers. The aim of the trip was to discuss methods for attracting foreign skilled workers. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Britta Pedersen

As a new jobseekers' visa that is designed to attract foreign workers launches in Germany in June, one question remains: how many skilled labourers will it actually bring in?


From June 1st, foreign nationals from beyond the EU who want to find a job in Germany will be able to apply or a Chancenkarte (Opportunity Card) to do so.

The Opportunity Card functions as a temporary work visa, allowing card holders to enter the country and then work part-time or to take on two-week trial work for up to a year.

It comes as one of several immigration policy changes meant to attract badly needed young workers amidst Germany’s severe labour shortage. 

Policy makers hope that by allowing workers to more easily enter the country and start work, a new generation of skilled workers will take their chance to immigrate to the Bundesrepublik. But to what extent the new visa opportunity will succeed in narrowing Germany’s labour gap remains to be seen.

How many workers might apply for a Chancenkarte?

As Germany’s post-war and baby-boomer generations enter retirement, the country is experiencing a growing labour shortage that is putting significant pressure on a number of industries.

According to the draft law on the further development of skilled worker immigration, which led to the creation of the opportunity card, the government expects up to 30,000 opportunity cards to be applied for per year.

That would be a significant boost to the number of incoming skilled workers compared to figures seen in recent years. In 2022, a total of 38,820 skilled professionals with a recognised qualification entered the country, according to the latest Migration Report prepared by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

So an additional 30,000 workers per year would be a laudable increase.

However, Germany’s coalition government has previously stated the goal of attracting 400,000 qualified professionals from abroad each year. This figure was based on previous German Economic Institute (IW) calculations that by 2030, Germany could face a shortage of roughly 5 million workers.

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Considering that goal, the 30,000 workers that could be attracted by the opportunity card would amount to just 7.5 percent of Germany’s target.


But given the severity of the labour shortage in key industries, anything is better than nothing.

rail track construction

Railroad construction, called "Berufe im Gleisbau" in German, is a bottleneck occupation. More track construction workers are badly needed to keep the country's railway infrastructure in-tact in the future. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas

What are the ‘bottleneck’ occupations?

Principally, the opportunity card is designed to ease immigration requirements for all kinds of skilled workers.

But workers from so-called bottleneck occupations are granted an extra point according to the point-based system that will be used to review applications.

Put simply, bottleneck occupations are those in which there are not enough incoming workers to replace the retiring workforce. 

Germany’s employment agency assesses bottleneck occupations in the country. Last year the agency announced that the number of bottleneck occupations had risen sharply, from 148 to 200 in 2022 – amounting to a shortage in one out of every six occupations in Germany.

A spokesperson for the employment agency, told The Local that: "Nursing specialists, occupations in sanitary, heating and air conditioning technology, surgical assistants, construction electricians, and rail construction workers", are a few examples of key bottleneck occupations currently.


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For more information on the Chancenkarte and who is qualified to apply read our explainer.



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