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Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications

The opportunities to have foreign professional qualifications recognized in Germany have improved significantly. For the first time, the Federal Government's Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act, or Recognition Act, establishes a legal claim to have foreign qualifications assessed for their equivalence to a German reference occupation. The Federal Cabinet adopted the first Report on the Recognition Act on 2 April 2014. The experience of the first two years since its enactment shows that the Recognition Act is a success.

The Recognition Act

Germany needs experts! Many companies, craft businesses, hospitals and care facilities have already come to depend on experts from abroad. This is why the Federal Government introduced the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act, or "Recognition Act", as a new instrument to secure the availability of skilled workers in Germany.

In the past, only a very limited number of people who came to Germany with professional and vocational qualifications were able to apply for qualification recognition. The Recognition Act has changed this and introduces a standardized and transparent procedure for all federally regulated professions. This provides the basis for establishing the equivalence of a foreign qualification with a corresponding German qualification. In many cases equivalence is a prerequisite to work in one's profession or to start a business in Germany. This is especially true for "regulated professions" such as trades that require authorization, for medical doctors, and for nurses or pharmacists. The Recognition Act improves opportunities for individuals who have gained professional qualifications abroad to practice their learned professions in Germany and thereby assures that these individuals can be better integrated into the labour market.

The Recognition Act includes the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgesetz - BQFG) under the responsibility of the BMBF as well as provisions for the recognition of vocational qualifications in around 60 federal laws and regulations governing professions, such as healthcare professions (Medical Practitioners' Code, Nursing Act) and master craftsmen (Craft Trades Law).

The Länder have also adopted their own legislation concerning the professions for which they are responsible (e.g. teachers, engineers, architects, occupations in social services). All of the Länder legislation on recognition became effective on 1 July 2014. In the interest of providing a standardized national procedure to people with foreign qualifications, further efforts will be made to open up the recognition procedure to individuals with third country qualifications in all professions – in particular in shortage occupations such as teachers and engineers.

Success Stories

Michelle Anged MonteuA doctor of medicine from Cameroon: Michelle Ange Monteu (33) is from Cameroon and has lived in Germany for nearly 5 years. She studied medicine and then worked as a physician in Mali. Following a successful assessment exam, she obtained her license to practice medicine and now works at a hospital as a doctor. Click here for more information.

Susanna KenettiAn optician from Finland: Susanna Kenetti (44) comes from Finland. She is a qualified optician and business economist. She has been living in Berlin for 5 years. Now, her training has been recognized by the Berlin Chamber of Trades. Click here for more information.

Industrial mechanic from Turkey: Ümüt Karatas (33) came to Germany at age 20. He was unable to work immediately as an industrial mechanic and started out as an industrial cleaner. He became unemployed in 2010 as a result of the economic downturn. In an interview he talked about his professional career and his decision to seek recognition of his professional training in 2012. Click here for more information.

Positive experiences with enforcement of the Act

Experience has shown that there is a great interest in the new procedure. There have been a great number of counselling sessions, thousands of applications for recognition have been made, and the majority have been granted equivalence.

The majority of applications are in the regulated professions – physicians, pharmacists, dentists, psychotherapists or midwives –  because recognition is a prerequisite to practice these professions in Germany.   Clear interest is also evident in the statistics for the online portal "Recognition in Germany": some 40 per cent of the hits on the site are from locations outside of Germany. The information centres and the hotline of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees have reported a massive surge in the number of requests for counselling. Not every counselling session automatically leads to an application for recognition. Counselling can help many individuals in other ways which include measures to gain qualifications or retraining.

On 15 October 2013 the Federal Statistical Office issued the first official federal statistics on the applications and notifications concerning professions which are governed by the Recognition Act. For information on the results and other statistics on counselling click here. Updated statistics from the Federal Statistical Office for the 2013 reporting year are expected to be published in autumn 2014.

The Federal Government adopted the first "Report on the Recognition Act" presented by the BMBF on 2 April 2014. Click here for more information

Further information and advisory services

The online portal "Recognition in Germany" and its online tool "Recognition Finder" point the way to the appropriate competent authority and provide important information about the recognition procedure in English, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Romanian and Turkish.

On behalf of the BMBF, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees telephone hotline (+49 (0)30-1815-1111) is available to callers in Germany and abroad from Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm. The hotline offers its services in German and English.

The IQ Drop-In Centres offer initial advice at the regional level to individuals seeking recognition.

The Federal Government supports this service through its funding programme "Integration through Qualification (IQ)" with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Federal Employment Agency.

Additional information

Deutsche Version dieser Seite

 "Recognition in Germany," the new information portal of the Recognition Act, is now online. If you would like to obtain recognition for professional qualifications gained abroad, you can use the portal to find up-to-date information on the legal foundations and procedures of professional recognition, as well as information on your local contact centre. To access the portal "Recognition in Germany," click here



© 08/29/2015 00:03 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung