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Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications

The recognition of foreign professional qualifications is a pivotal factor to the success of immigration of qualified workers to Germany. Many immigrants have gained their professional qualifications in other countries. Which are often unable to be fully appreciated in the German labour market because there is a lack of adequate processes and means of assessment.

We will ease the inclusion of foreign workers with foreign professional qualifications and will encourage the integration into the German labour market of foreign workers already living here.

The Federal Recognition Act entered into effect on 1st of April 2012. It has improved procedures to evaluate foreign professional qualifications which comes under the responsibility of the Federal Government. that career relevant professional qualifications and documents that immigrants bring with them are judged in the best possible way, considering the features of each branch, in order to achieve the optimal and relevant employment of each candidate.

    »Recognition in Germany« is the new information portal regarding the German government´s Recognition Act. This portal provides up-to-date information on the legal basis and procedure for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

    Anyone wishing to have their qualifications recognized could have a personal counselling session at a local office. The Integration through Qualification (IQ) programme counselling offices provide information about the process of recognition of professional qualifications and will refer you to the authority responsible for your case.

    The federal Recognition Act only governs professions which come under the resposibility of the Federal Government. It does regulate those professions for which the Länder are responsible, such as teachers, nursery school teachers, youth social workers, engineers and architects. The recognition of foreign qualifications in these professions is regulated by Länder legislation. The Saxony law on equivalence of professional qualifications (Sächsisches Berufsqualifikationsfestel-lungsgesetz – SächsBQF) came into effect on 1st of January 2014.

      New residence permit for recognition of foreign vocational and professional qualifications

      Since 1 August 2015 there has been a residence permit for qualification measures in the scope of recognition of foreign professional qualifications (§ 17a German Residence Act). The new regulation presents improvements for foreign qualified workers who now may come to Germany for 18 months to attend qualification measures to have their professional qualification recognized and start employment. Qualification measures include educational measures in the context of a recognition procedure, such as adaptation courses, language courses or training with practical work constituting the major part but also taking aptitude or knowledge tests.

      Furthermore, § 17a German Residence Act entitles to job-seeking after completion of the educational measure. The new residence permit allows starting employment which is closely related to the qualifi-cation to be recognized while doing a qualification measure.

      The new regulation allows for better interlocking of recognition procedure, residence law and access to the labour market. It follows the consistent continuation of the reform of the German Employment Regulation, which foresees corresponding access to the labour market for understaffed non-academic professions (§ 6 German Employment Regulation) but requires a certification of full equivalence of the respective foreign professional qualification.

      Positive development of recognition of professional qualifications

      Official Federal statistics for 2013, published in December 2014, show the positive development of the recognition of professional qualifications and the increasing number of recognition procedures. Since the law came into effect on 1 April 2012, there have been about 26,500 applications for recognition concerning regulated professions until 21 December 2013. The most recognition procedures concerned medical and health care professions. Almost 75 percent of the qualifications were recognized as fully equivalent to the respective German qualification.

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      IQ – network integration by occupational qualification

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      This online work and knowledge sharing platform helps assessment authorities and companies to better assess and evaluate vocational and further training qualifications obtained abroad.

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