Skilled worker immigration 2024: This will also apply from June 01, 2024

The Skilled Immigration Act is intended to counteract the enormous shortage of skilled workers in Germany. Following the first stage in November 2023 and the second stage in March 2024, the third stage will now bring about changes to the immigration of skilled workers for the last time.

The legal innovations for skilled worker immigration to date – stages 1 and 2

In November 2023, the Skilled Immigration Act introduced the first changes to residence law. Among other things, the salary threshold for obtaining an EU Blue Card was lowered and an extended group of people can now receive the Blue Card. At the same time, the list of bottleneck professions has been extended. Another new feature is the entitlement to a residence permit under certain conditions for skilled workers with vocational training and skilled workers with an academic education.

Regulations have been in force since March 2024

  • to facilitate the stay for professional qualification and better opportunities to pursue employment in the meantime,
  • on the so-called recognition partnership, which enables recognition procedures for professional qualifications to be carried out after entry under certain conditions,
  • to stay for up to six months for a so-called qualification analysis,
  • to facilitate family reunification,
  • for easier access to the labor market for nursing assistants etc. from third countries and
  • for easier employment of students and trainees and improved residence opportunities for prospective trainees or students.

You can read more about this in our article “Skilled Immigration Act 2024: Stage 2 since the beginning of March”

New since June 1, 2024: Western Balkans regulation

In future, more nationals from the Western Balkans (Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and North Macedonia) will be able to come to Germany to work in non-regulated professions – even without recognized qualifications. To this end, the quota for the Western Balkans regulation has been doubled – now to 50,000 approvals from the Federal Employment Agency per calendar year. Employers can apply for advance approval under the Western Balkans regulation directly online via the Federal Employment Agency’s website.

New since June 01, 2024: The opportunity card

In addition, an opportunity card for finding a job in Germany will be introduced: With this card, people from third countries can look for work in Germany without a lengthy recognition procedure. Skilled workers from third countries within the meaning of Section 18 (3) AufenthG will receive the opportunity card without having to meet any further requirements.

However, anyone who is not considered a specialist within the meaning of the law must

  • (at least) two years of state-recognized vocational training in the country of training or a foreign university degree and
  • basic knowledge of German (A1) or English (B2)

as a basic requirement. Proof of financial security is then also necessary. If these requirements are met and you fulfill other requirements that are assessed using a points system, it is possible,

  • work in Germany for up to two weeks on a trial basis or
  • to work a part-time job of up to 20 hours/week.

And this for a period of one year, which can be extended to a maximum of three years under strict conditions.

Overall, the person must be able to demonstrate that they have achieved at least six points in the points system of the Chancenkarte and thus demonstrate skills that are relevant for the labor market in Germany.

The points for the opportunity card

Anyone who can prove that they have a partially recognized professional qualification or permission to work in a regulated profession receives 4 points for the opportunity card.

Those with a lot of “fresh” professional experience and relevant training abroad can also be awarded points: 2 or 3 points depending on the amount of professional experience.

Good language skills in German and English also carry weight: three points are awarded for German language skills at language level B2 and two points for German language skills at language level B1. A very good knowledge of English (C1) or an adequate knowledge of German (A2) is awarded one point.

Last but not least, age and personal situation also play a role: people under the age of 35 automatically receive 2 points for this, while anyone under the age of 40 receives one point for the opportunity card. And anyone who applies for an opportunity card together with their spouse receives one point. This shows that anyone who is well educated, has professional experience and can communicate well will have a good chance of receiving the Chancenkarte.

Advantages of the opportunity card for employers

The advantages of the opportunity card are obvious: employers have access to a much larger pool of qualified specialists.

At the same time, entry into Germany will be easier, as an approval procedure by the Federal Employment Agency is no longer necessary. This means that skilled workers can start working quickly and conclude an employment contract for simple work of up to 20 hours per week before entering the country. This can be crucial for applicants to be able to prove their financial security.

Do you have questions about skilled labor immigration?

If you have any questions or need support, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I will be happy to help you!

Yours Christian Seidel

Our expert for questions in the area of employment law

Christian Seidel

Specialist in labour law
Authorised signatory of ACCONSIS

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+ 49 89 547143
or via e-mail