Germany to Introduce Opportunity Card & Increase Work Visa Quota for Western Balkans on June 1

On June 1, 2024, Germany’s third stage of the Skilled Immigration Act will enter into force, bringing several changes that will positively affect foreigners who want to reach the country for work purposes.

The two most important changes are the introduction of a new Opportunity Card and the increased number of work visas granted under the Western Balkans Regulation, SchengenNews reports.

As for the other changes, including some obligations for employers, the authorities explained that they will not start applying before 2026.

Annual Work Visa Quota for Western Balkans Will Increase to 50,000 on June 1

In line with the Skilled Immigration Act, starting from June 1 of this year, the number of temporary work visas granted under the Western Balkans Regulation will double.

From June 1, Germany will grant annually 50,000 work visas to nationals of the Western Balkan countries instead of the current 25,000.

This change means that nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia will enjoy easier and privileged access to Germany’s labour market.

Nationals of these six countries will not have to prove to have any professional qualifications when applying for the document.

All applicants have to do is wait for preliminary approval from the Federal Employment Agency and then apply for a visa to enter Germany and take up employment.

What About the Opportunity Card? How Will It Work?

Germany’s new Opportunity Card, also known as the Chancenkarte, will also become available from next month.

Starting June 1, 2024, nationals of third countries who do not have an employment contract but want to enter Germany for the purpose of looking for a suitable job will be able to use the Opportunity Card.

The Opportunity Card makes it easier for candidates to find work in Germany. It enables applicants to work in Germany without a lengthy recognition procedure.

Chancenkarte Deutschland

The Opportunity Card is based on a points system. The document will be issued to foreigners who are recognised as skilled workers and to those who have at least six points using the points system.

To obtain an Opportunity Card, nationals of non-EU countries who want to reach Germany for work purposes must prove that they have completed at least two years of vocational training or hold a university degree as well as possess sufficient German or English language proficiency, at A1 or B1 level, respectively.

Through the Opportunity Card, applicants from third countries will be able to stay in Germany for up to 12 months to look for a job, with the possibility of extending the stay on the basis of the Opportunity Card for an additional two years.

To secure the Opportunity Card, third-country nationals must reach six points. The card entitles its holders to take up two-week trial jobs or part-time jobs of up to 20 hours per week.