Reform to German immigration laws

Sat 1st Jul, 2023

The German parliament recently approved a new law that will simplify the employment search process for non-EU nationals who reside in Germany.

This Friday, June 23, the Bundestag approved a law aimed at attracting more highly skilled non-EU workers to Germany. The new law includes the implementation of a Chancenkarte (Opportunity Card) with a points system.

This is likely the biggest and most exciting change for people who want to relocate to Germany for employment. At the moment, only non-EU nationals who have received a formal job offer from a German employer are given a work visa.

Jobseekers will be able to live in Germany for up to a year while they search for employment with the new Chancenkarte if they can support themselves financially. The Chancenkarte will also permit holders to switch jobs and work seasonally or part-time while looking for more long-term employment, unlike current work visas which restrict applicants to specific positions.

There are some additional requirements, though. For those who possess a college degree or a vocational qualification, chancenkarten will be issued. Anywhere in the world may submit credentials for consideration, and the new law will make it easier to have credentials from other countries recognized in Germany. Additionally, a points system will be used to evaluate applications, with points given to applicants based on factors like age, German heritage, employment history, and language proficiency.

The working restrictions related to their immigration status will also be a little more lenient for tourists and refugees waiting for their asylum claims to be approved.

SDP Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated that the draft law "secures prosperity in Germany" in her speech to the Bundestag on Friday. However, she insisted that additional administrative barriers must be removed in order for more people to move to Germany easily and aid the nation in addressing its severe labor shortage. It is unacceptable, according to Faeser, that 17 different applications must be completed in order to bring in a new caregiver.

Recent record-breaking levels of unemployment in Germany have prompted the Federal Employment Agency's director, Andrea Nahles, to emphasize that "even if [Germany] leverage[s] all domestic potential, [filling vacant jobs] will not be possible without further immigration, also for demographic reasons. Both skilled and unskilled laborers are required. ".

Conservative and right-wing political parties were the main opponents of the law. Reducing language requirements would encourage more "low-skilled" workers to immigrate to Germany, according to Andrea Lindholz of the CSU. The AfD's Norbert Kleinwächter delivered the harshest criticism, claiming that the new law would transform Germany into a "junk country.".

In response to Kleinwächter's remarks, Lamya Kaddor of the Green Party defended the coalition's decision to relax the German language requirements, stating that the workplace was the ideal setting for learning and honing German skills.

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