Professional recognition at a glance
- According to the Recognition Act, since 2012 all holders of a foreign professional qualification have a legal right to have their professional qualification assessed for equivalence with a corresponding German reference qualification. This right applies regardless of nationality, place of residence and residence status. The prerequisite is that the person has completed formal and state-recognized initial or further training.
- Formal recognition of professional qualifications is only mandatory for practicing so-called regulated professions, such as medical professions and professions of master craftsmen.
- However, even in the case of non-regulated professions, such as most of approximately 330 professions pursued in the dual training system, a formal assessment is helpful for evaluating your candidates’ professional qualifications and identifying further training needs. In addition, professional recognition is mandatory for skilled workers willing to immigrate to Germany from non-EU countries (exceptions: IT professions and professional drivers; as of August 2021).
- In the recognition procedure, a foreign vocational or further training qualification is compared to a corresponding German qualification. In addition to formal learning outcomes, relevant work experience or other evidence of competence are taken into consideration.
- The recognition procedures and equivalence assessments are carried out by the so-called competent bodies for professional recognition. These include, e.g., the regional chambers of crafts and the IHK FOSA (Foreign Skills Approval) as the central recognition body for industrial and commercial professions. Tip: You can use the Recognition Finder on the Recognition in Germany website to identify the relevant competent body.
- There are two starting points for professional recognition: Either the skilled worker is already in Germany (as a current or future skilled worker in your company) or the skilled worker is still abroad (e.g. immigration via the Skilled Workers Immigration Act)
The recognition process
Depending on the individual case, the recognition procedure includes different steps and modules. These are shown in the following diagram and explained in detail below.
The advantages for companies
Through formal recognition, you can not only find skilled workers, but also retain them in your company for the long term.
Further information for companies
On the subpages od the section “Accompanying the recognition process”, you can find out everything you need to know about how you can support foreign skilled workers in the recognition process.