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Man hoping to relocate to Germany via Chancenkarte crossing his fingers and holding German flag.

What is Chancenkarte? The proposed German Opportunity card

Table of contents

  1. Why is Germany introducing Chancenkarte?
  2. What is Chancenkarte?
  3. Who is eligible for a Chancenkarte?
  4. What does “skilled worker” mean in this context?
  5. What Chancenkarte means for companies looking to hire internationally

Germany has long been recognized as a hub for innovation and is known to be welcoming to international talent, but new laws could make it even easier for those outside the European Union to live and work in the country. Legislation introduced in November 2022 would create an “opportunity card,” called Chancenkarte, which would operate similarly to Canada's points-based system. Let’s take a look at what the proposed Chancenkarte means and how it could impact your organization.

Why is Germany introducing Chancenkarte?

As the largest economy in the European Union, Germany is facing overwhelming labor shortages as their population ages. Indeed, recent studies have established that there are more than 1.7 million openings nationwide. To help mitigate this issue, lawmakers have introduced Chancenkarte - a system that, if approved as is, can help those outside the EU come to Germany to work.

What is Chancenkarte?

Chancenkarte — the German Opportunity Card Program — would provide an avenue through which non-EU residents could gain entry into Germany and potentially become permanent residents. It factors in various qualifications for entry, such as language and professional skills, education level, and work experience. Points will then determine whether an individual qualifies.

With Chancenkarte, it's likely many new opportunities will open up both for international skilled workers looking to relocate and businesses seeking to capitalize on global recruitment efforts.

It’s important to note that Chancenkarte is not expected to go into effect until at least December 2023, possibly later. Additionally, the final legislation could look quite different from the current proposal.

Who is eligible for a Chancenkarte?

Based on the current information, Chancenkarte has been designed for skilled workers. Four key criteria will be considered in the points system for the Chancenkarte. Eligibility for the card would require meeting at least three of these criteria

  1. Possession of a university degree, vocational training, or professional qualification from a recognized institution. If the degree is from a foreign institution, it will need to be converted to the German equivalent.
  2. A minimum of three years of professional experience related to the job applied for.
  3. Language proficiency or prior residency in Germany to demonstrate familiarity with the German language and work culture.
  4. Applicants must be 35 years old or younger.

Those that meet at least three of these criteria would likely be eligible, even without a job offer. It is likely that there will also be an annual quota for the number of workers needed in specific sectors, which could make predicting who will qualify from year to year difficult.

What does “skilled worker” mean in this context?

In the context of the proposed German Chancenkarte, a "skilled worker" refers to someone with a vocational or university degree. Skilled workers can be classified into two types: professionally trained workers and academically trained workers. The specific definitions of each of these haven't been laid out yet, as the legislation is still being finalized.

What Chancenkarte means for companies looking to hire internationally

If passed, this points-based system will offer many advantages for businesses hiring employees from abroad. For instance, the Chancenkarte aims to simplify the way employers bring in highly skilled workers from non-EU countries. It also seeks to make the process quicker by offering applicants a faster decision timeline. This means companies could potentially welcome their new employees in Germany sooner than before and enjoy the perks of a diverse workforce.

By virtue of the Chancenkarte, companies will be able to offer an attractive relocation package to their prospective employees without worrying about visa restrictions. They can also benefit from increased flexibility in hiring needs. Since all candidates will have access to the same opportunity card, they won't be limited by citizenship requirements. This also alleviates some of the administrative burden associated with hiring international candidates. Companies will benefit from accessing a pre-vetted, accredited pool of international workers. With much of the due diligence already done, international hiring  may be much more straightforward. 

Strengthen your workforce with Localyze

The proposed Chancenkarte system of immigration to Germany is likely to usher in a new period of growth for the country. For any company looking to expand their international footprint in Germany, this is a great opportunity.

Localyze can help you bring employees to Germany and 10 other destinations, guiding you through the process and ensuring a smooth transition. Keeping you abreast of any developments in the immigration space as they happen. Book a demo today to learn how Localyze can support your company's global mobility needs.

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