Germany and UK making it easier for foreign workers

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Annett Günther, German Ambassador to Nigeria

By Rebecca Ann Hughes and Ruth Nwokwu

The Opportunity Card allows non-EU citizens to come to Germany for a year in order to search for a job. If you’ve been thinking about relocating to Germany, this new work permit might be for you. Germany is seeking more skilled workers and has introduced a new way for qualified foreign nationals to move to the country.

In other words, there’s a new way for foreign workers to move to Germany. Called the Opportunity Card, it allows non-EU citizens to come to Germany for a year in order to search for a job. Here’s who is eligible and how the card works.

The idea for the Chancenkarte, which translates as Opportunity Card, was first floated in 2022 as a way to make it easier for foreign workers to find employment in Germany. It was launched on 1 June 2024 as the country sought to bolster its scarce supply of young, skilled workers.

Germany requires around 400,000 new skilled employees a year to cover the shortage, especially in the fields of engineering, IT and healthcare. And the country’s new work permit lets you job seek for a year. The Opportunity Card acts like a temporary visa or work permit, allowing non-EU citizens to live in the country for up to one year.

During this period, cardholders are allowed to take on part-time jobs amounting to no more than 20 hours per week or undertake trial work experiences lasting two weeks. The purpose is to make it easier for skilled workers to find suitable employment and for companies in need of employees to find foreign workers to fill the roles. If a cardholder wishes to transition to a full-time job, they can apply for longer-term residency – a process made easier because the applicant already has a job offer. Who then is eligible for Germany’s Opportunity Card?  If you want to apply for the Chancenkarte, you need to have completed at least two years of vocational training or hold a university degree from your country of origin that is relevant to your desired role. Applicants also need to be competent in German or English. Those interested must prove they have the funds or salary from a part-time employment contract to cover their stay in Germany for a year – just over €12,000.

Candidates are ranked using a points system with the minimum requirement being six points. There are four points available for holding a professional qualification recognised in Germany or having permission to practise a regulated profession like teacher, nurse or engineer.

Three points are given to applicants with five years of professional experience in their field completed within the last seven years or German language skills at B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Two years of professional experience with previous vocational training within the last five years, being under the age of 35 at the time of application and holding a B1 certificate for German each earns two points.

One point is given for: being under 40 at the time of application; having stayed previously in Germany for at least six months (excluding for tourism purposes); C1 English and A2 German language skills; being trained in an occupation where there is a shortage of workers in Germany; and applying together with a spouse.

Those interested can apply for the Opportunity Card at the German consulate in their home country of the local Foreigners’ Registration Office in Germany

UK Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Richard Montgomery


Also, the United Kingdom government has prolonged the seasonal work visa program by 5 years, till 2029. This is after offering 43,000 seasonal work visas to immigrant workers in the horticultural sector and an additional 2,000 visas to the poultry sector. This implies that the immigration dream of 45,000 people has the chance of being achieved. Here’s all you need to know to immigrate as a seasonal worker to the UK. What you should know about being a seasonal worker in the UK in 2024. The seasonal worker visa is only for those who are not in the UK at the moment.
• You are applying to work as a horticulturist for up to 6 months. Your task would involve picking fruit and vegetables or flowers, or a poultry job.
• You can apply for Horticulture Seasonal Work visas at any time of the year.
• You can do a poultry job from the 2nd of October to the 31st of December.
• You can apply for poultry seasonal worker visas by the 15th of November each year. But who is eligible to apply as a seasonal worker in the UK?

Anyone who must apply and be granted a seasonal work visa to the UK must:
• Be an applicant of 18 years and above.
• Have a certificate of sponsorship with a reference number from a UK employer.
• Have proof of at least £1,270 to support yourself, except your employer is sponsoring you.
• You must have secured a Horticulture or Poultry job.

And what documents do you need to apply for a seasonal visa in the UK?

To apply for a seasonal visa, you must have the following documents:
• A Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) serial number which is given to you by your sponsor.
• A statement from a bank showing that you have enough funds to sustain yourself unless your sponsor is providing for that.
• A valid international Passport with a blank space for your visa and any other document that proves your nationality.
• A certified translation of any document that is not written in English or Welsh.


And here are steps to apply for a UK seasonal work visa

To apply for a seasonal work visa, follow the processes below:
• Fill out the application form on the UK Government’s Visas and immigration website [].

  • Upload your photographed and scanned documents on the online portal.
    • Pay the sum of £259 as a visa fee upon completion of your application.
    • Book an appointment with a visa application centre.
    About how long it would take to apply for and get a UK seasonal worker visa
    • You can apply for a seasonal work visa for up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK.
    • Getting a decision from the UK government may take longer depending on your situation.
    • The Seasonal worker Visa is valid for six months.
    • You can enter the UK up to 2 weeks before the start date of your job.

What you can do and not do as a UK seasonal worker

• You can do the job specified in your certificate of sponsorship.
• You can study for the duration of your visa
• You cannot take a permanent job.
• You cannot take another job especially when it is not specified in your Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).
• You cannot apply for, or get public funds.
• You cannot bring in dependents/family members.
• You cannot settle permanently in the UK.
You can get more information from the UK government’s website.

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