With the “opportunity card” and a “points system”, the coalition government wants to attract more well-educated people from all over the world to Germany

With the “opportunity card” and a “points system”, the coalition government wants to attract more well-educated people from all over the world to Germany. The F.A.Z. has now received the draft law. An overview.

Drivers in Germany should not exceed the limit of 8 points on their driving record, otherwise the authorities will revoke their driving licence. For people from abroad who want to prove themselves on the German labour market, on the other hand, a minimum number of 6 points in the new skilled labour immigration law will be the key to success in future. For those who achieve it, for example through professional experience and good German language skills, are to receive an “opportunity card” as a legal residence title without further requirements. This is the result of the draft bill on the planned reform of immigration law, which the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Labour have now completed. It has been made available to the F.A.Z..

With this bill, the ministries want to anchor the introduction of a points system as a new “second pillar” in the law on skilled labour immigration, as announced by the “traffic light” parties in the coalition agreement. The so-called first pillar regulates access for foreign workers who already have an employment contract with a German employer firmly in sight. A major innovation is therefore that even prospective workers who have not yet negotiated with German employers from abroad should have easier access to a kind of probationary period on the German labour market.

Earning one’s own living

The opportunity card will then be valid for a limited period of one year – those who successfully find a job during this time can legally stay in Germany longer, otherwise not. In any case, the holders of the Chance Card should be able to earn their own living, without the help of the German welfare state. Together with further reforms of the rules and procedures for skilled workers, the new points system should make a noticeable contribution to easing the labour shortage in this country. According to the federal government, the planned regulations “could increase the immigration of qualified third-country nationals for the purpose of labour migration by 50,000 persons annually”, the draft states in justification. With the planned expansion of the so-called Western Balkans regulation, which has been in place since 2016, the potential is estimated at 65,000 persons annually.

The Federal Employment Agency expects that Germany will soon need 400,000 workers from abroad every year to fill the gaps that will open up when the “baby boomers” retire. The ministries also cite a study by the Boston Consulting Group. According to this study, “Germany loses 86,000 euros in economic output annually for every skilled worker it lacks”.

In the new points system, prospective applicants will be able to collect points primarily with professional qualifications and language skills, but other criteria such as age will be added. In concrete terms, it looks like this: Those who can offer at least three years of professional experience will receive three of the six points required. Applicants with a vocational qualification that is at least partially recognisable under German law receive four points. Applicants with a qualification that is fully recognised in Germany do not have to worry about collecting points – they receive the opportunity card directly.

Not a lucky draw

Another discipline in the points system, on the other hand, is the applicants’ “relevance to Germany”. It mainly concerns language skills: Those who already speak German well, at level B2 of the EU classification, receive two points for this. Advanced basic knowledge (B1) is awarded one point. Another point is awarded to applicants who have already lived legally in Germany for at least six months in the previous five years. There is also an additional point for applicants who have a “sponsor” in this country who professes to want to support them on their way into work.

Finally, age is added as a third discipline with points potential: those under 35 are credited with 2 points; for those under 40 there is another point. Older people, on the other hand, must have all the more to offer in the other categories. The reason given is that younger people usually find it easier to learn and adapt.

Of course, the “opportunity card” itself is not designed to be the big lucky ticket, because according to the draft it does not allow unlimited work: it only entitles the holder “to work a total of up to 20 hours per week and for up to two weeks in each case on a trial basis for an unlimited period of time”. But those who find a regular full-time job are assured by the draft that they will also be given the prospect of one of the suitable longer-term residence titles.



Translated with Deepl.com

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