Germany’s Opportunity Card Available from June 1, 2024

Starting June 1, 2024, the German government will introduce the opportunity card, a residence permit enabling jobseekers to stay in Germany to look for employment.

Opportunity cards are issued for a maximum of one year, provided that the holder is able to support themselves for that period. It allows the holder to undertake work trials for up to two weeks or take up secondary employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during their stay in Germany.

If an applicant is subsequently unable to obtain another residence title for employment purposes but nevertheless has an offer of qualified employment, the opportunity card can be extended for a further two years.

This card can be obtained in two ways:

  • Third-country nationals who receive full recognition of their foreign qualifications and are therefore considered “skilled workers” can obtain an opportunity card without any further special requirements;
  • All other applicants must provide evidence of a foreign university degree, a vocational qualification of at least two years’ duration (in each case recognized by the state in the country of training) or a vocational qualification issued by a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad. In addition, a basic knowledge of German (level A1 CEFR) or English (level B2 CEFR) is required. Then, points are awarded for criteria such as recognition of qualifications in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age, links to Germany, and the skilled worker potential of accompanying partners or spouses. Applicants must score a minimum of six points to receive an Opportunity Card.

For both options, applicants must have sufficient financial resources to fund their job search in Germany. During the visa process, they can demonstrate this ability with a blocked bank account (containing a minimum of €1,027 net per month, amount applicable in 2024) or a declaration of commitment.

Those who have obtained a university degree or professional qualification in Germany can instead apply for a residence permit for jobseekers giving them more time to look for a job (18 months instead of one year) and can work part-time without restrictions during this time.

Further information is available here.

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Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.