Will it be easier for Balkan citizens to work in Germany? The Chancenkarte is coming

Danilo Milošević (age 33) from Leskovac has been living in Germany for three years and works as a teacher near Munich.

After hiring him, his employer waited 13 months for him to come from Serbia and start working, which is the average time needed to obtain a work visa. He says it was the most difficult part of the journey he started three years ago, because before applying for a job he had to learn the German language (at least the B2 level) which required time, money and a lot of patience.

The same obstacles face other workers heading for Germany, but this procedure may soon be simplified, according to announcements by the Berlin authorities. The government is preparing a version of the green card modelled on Canada, because it is estimated that there are more than 1.7 million vacancies available in Germany.

The country is also counting on workers from the Western Balkans, including Serbia. The so-called ‘opportunity card’ (Chancenkarte) is something that employers wanted for such a long time in Germany because demographers predict that by 2035, there will be seven million fewer people on the labour market unless immigration increases significantly, writes Euronews.

The German authorities have announced that they are considering laxing the rules in order to close the jobs gap. According to the authorities’ announcements, the liberalisation of employment would be reflected in the fact that applicants would have to fulfil three out of four criteria – have a diploma or professional training recognised by Germany, three years of work experience, good knowledge of the language or a previous stay in Germany, and should not be older than 35.

Citizens of some countries with visa agreements can already enter Germany and stay there for 90 days without having a visa, but can only be hired for short-term employment. The Chancenkarte will help people look for a job or internship while they are in Germany, rather than applying for a job from abroad. Applicants must therefore be able to prove that they can pay their own living expenses in the meantime, i.e. until they find a job. The exact details of this new offer have yet to be formalised.

Spiegel magazine recently wrote that there have never been as many available jobs in Germany as there are today and pointed out that the lack of workforce is stifling airports, restaurants and swimming pools, and that this is only a small thing compared to what is threatening the country, because statistics show that there are 1.74 million job vacancies, although in reality there are probably many more.

As Deutsche Welle writes, a job in elderly care, for example, remains vacant for an average of 239 days, which means that employers cannot find a carer for almost eight months.

The situation is not better with tinsmiths, and heating and air conditioning technicians where the wait for a new employee is 224 days each. In regard to high-rise buildings, a construction worker waits an average of 221 days for a job and nurses, midwives and paramedics the average wait to to find a worker is 188 days.

(Nova, 18.09.2022)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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