The notification of recognition

What does a notification of recognition look like and what does it mean? In this section, we will show you the various results of the notification of recognition and what happens afterwards to your skilled worker.
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What is certified?

The notification of recognition, also known as the notification of equivalency, shows which professional qualifications the applicant has and to what extent the foreign qualification profile is equivalent to the German reference occupation. If there is partial equivalence, the main differences that exist are listed. This enables companies to deploy their staff according to the skills they have learned and to make the best possible use of the existing potential. The described differences are the starting point for appropriate adaptation qualifications.

You can find examples of notification of recognition from the chambers of crafts or IHK FOSA in the blog of Company Occupational Recognition (UBA).

How long does the process take?

After one month at the latest, the applicant will receive a message from the responsible authority confirming receipt of the documents and, if necessary, informing them of any missing documents. If all the necessary documents have been received, the applicant usually receives a notification with the result within three months. In the case of the accelerated skilled worker procedure, a processing time of two months is provided.

Processing can be extended if there are no information available about the content of the foreign professional qualification or if there are reasonable doubts about the authenticity or the correctness of the content. The responsible office can request the required documents and, in such cases, extend the processing time appropriately once. If the applicant is unable to submit the required documents (in full) for reasons beyond their control, the responsible office can also determine the skills, knowledge and abilities using other procedures (e.g. a qualification analysis). The qualification analysis may also be considered if the procurement of the documents is associated with an inappropriately time and material expenditure. In this case, the deadline is paused until the end of the alternative procedure.

The results of the notification of recognition

At the end of the equivalency check, there are three possible outcomes, which are communicated to the applicant in the notification of recognition.

Result: full equivalence

The notification of full equivalence confirms that the applicant's professional qualification is fully equivalent to a German reference occupation. This means that the competent authority has not identified any significant differences between the foreign training or education and the German reference occupation during the examination. This means that the skilled worker can be employed in the same way as an employee with a corresponding German professional qualification. The decision of the equivalence procedure also facilitates access to subsequent advanced training courses.

Result: Partial equivalence

If a partial equivalence is certified, there are significant differences between the foreign and German professional qualifications. In addition to the differences to the German reference occupation, the notification usually also contains information on the skills, knowledge and abilities that were acquired through the foreign professional qualifications. What happens afterwards depends on whether the German reference occupation is regulated or not.

The German reference occupation is regulated:

In the case of regulated reference professions (e.g. master craftsmen), the decision also specifies the measure that can be used to compensate for the significant differences. Applicants can e.g. complete an adaptation course as a course or work experience in the company (duration: maximum of three years). In the case of regulated professions, a knowledge or aptitude test can also be considered. The test examines the areas in which the most important differences have been identified. In the case of a knowledge test, all contents of the German reference occupation can be tested, regardless of whether differences were found or not.

If the aptitude test or knowledge test is passed or the adaptation course successfully completed, the applicant can submit a follow-up application (or re-application) to the responsible office, which checks, whether the essential differences have been balanced. If this is the case, full equivalency is granted.

The German reference occupation is not regulated:

For non-regulated professions, it is possible to apply on the labor market even if there are significant differences. In this case you can decide whether the skills and knowledge to carry out the activities in your company already exist or whether it makes sense to offer targeted measures to compensate the differences. In our adaptation qualification section, you can read about selecting the right measures and what an adaptation qualification can look like in concrete terms. Even after an adaptation qualification, the applicant can submit a follow-up application and thus obtain full equivalence to the German reference occupation.

General information on adaption qualification for non-regulated occupations can be found in this featured article by the West German Chamber of Crafts (WHKT).

Result: no equivalence

Applications can be rejected for various reasons. For example, a negative decision can be made if no comparability between the professional qualifications can be established from any point of view. In this case, the key differences are pointed out and it is explained why there is hardly any overlap with the German reference occupation. If the application is rejected, you can look for alternatives to the recognition procedure together. This includes the

  • Partial qualification (learning individual modules of a training occupation),
  • Post-qualification (introduction to a state-recognized professional qualification),
  • External examination (final examination in a German training occupation after extensive professional experience in this area without completing the apprenticeship) and
  • (shortened) vocational training.
The information available is not sufficient

If the information available about the foreign qualification is insufficient, a so-called qualification analysis can also be carried out at the competent authority.

Reasons for this can be that

  • The required evidence or information can’t be submitted for reasons beyond the control of the applicant,
  • the submission or procurement of documents involves an unreasonable amount of time and material,
  • the curriculum does not contain all necessary information required for a comparison with the German reference occupation.

In the qualification analysis, relevant professional skills, knowledge and abilities are demonstrated by means of suitable procedures, which are typical for the exercise of the profession in question and are therefore required to determine equivalence. For example, work samples or technical discussions can be carried out as part of a qualification analysis. Which instrument is used depends on the type of qualification and is determined by the responsible office. The results are documented and included into the equivalence test. Qualification analyzes can be carried out for the entire occupation as well as for individual sub-areas. This usually depends on the required information which is available to the competent authority.

This infographic from the Network Qualification Analysis (NetQA) shows you how the qualification analysis works in detail.

You can find a report about qualification analyzes in this video from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).

Costs and Financing

As part of a qualification analysis, there are additional costs for the applicant. How high these are depends on the materials, premises, etc. required. In addition to funding opportunities for the entire recognition process, various agencies and foundations (job center, special fund for qualification analyzes) offer financial support options specifically for the qualification analysis. Further information on the costs and financing of the recognition process can be found in our section of the same name.