Skilled workers from abroad

On this page, companies can find information about the Skilled Workers Immigration Act (FEG), the recognition potentials of vocational diplomas from selected focus countries, practical examples of successful recruitment from abroad as well as contact points for companies.

The FEG and its opportunities for companies

The Skilled Worker Immigration Act (FEG for short) has made it easier to recruit skilled workers from abroad since March 1, 2020. This applies to skilled workers with both higher education and vocational qualifications.

The prerequisite for immigration is, in addition to sufficient German language skills, the recognition of the higher education or vocational qualification. Professional recognition is therefore a fixed component for immigration via this route. There are exceptions for IT specialists and professional drivers. In these professions, relevant professional experience and a corresponding salary are sufficient to be able to immigrate to Germany.

Essentially, there are three ways for specialists from third countries to come to Germany for employment purposes:

  • for the purpose of taking up employment, if a job offer or contract is available,
  • for job search (max. 6 months; trial employment up to 10h/week possible) and
  • for qualification measures (max. 2 years) if deficits in comparison to a German qualification were previously identified in the recognition procedure. The qualification measure can also take place as an in-company adaptation measure in a company.

In addition, the priority check is waived for skilled workers from third countries with the FEG, provided that the person has an employment contract in Germany, and the foreign qualification has been recognised. The previous restriction to so-called bottleneck occupations with a high shortage of skilled workers also no longer applies to skilled workers without academic training.

You can find out how the recognition process works in general, and how companies can support throughout the process in our "Recognition for companies" section.

Focus countries with high diploma recognition potential for recruiting skilled workers

For some countries, there is potential for skilled labour immigration on a significant scale in the coming years. In the search for foreign skilled workers, it is therefore worthwhile to take a look at these countries.

Our profiles on 16 focus countries with high potential for recruiting skilled workers include information on the economy and society in these countries, on the most important features of the vocational training systems and on current immigration and integration in Germany. The profiles are constantly being expanded to include additional countries.



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The accelerated skilled worker procedure

You already know who you want to hire and would like to speed up the hiring process for the foreign professional? Companies have the option of using the so-called accelerated skilled worker procedure (beschleunigtes Fachkräfteverfahren) via the local immigration authority.

This means that, on the one hand, the recognition process is carried out in a shorter timeframe and, on the other hand, that the foreign professional's visa is granted more quickly. The result of the recognition procedure should be available within two months from the date of receipt of the complete application documents. There is an additional fee of 411 euros for the procedure.

With the authorisation from the professional worker, you can initiate the procedure via the responsible immigration authority in Germany. This gives you the authority to make all declarations and actions that are required for the diploma recognition procedure.

The procedure is based on Section 81a of the Residence Act (AufenthG). You can find more information on the accelerated procedure and a sample power of attorney at Make it in Germany.

Further information

In this section you will find further studies and reports on all aspects of skilled immigration and professional recognition in Germany.

Make it in Germany produced a video exlaining the fast-track procedure for skilled workers (§ 81a of the Residence Act).

The German government’s portal for qualified professionals from around the world. "Make it in Germany" offers a large amount of information for international professionals on the subject of working and living in Germany. In addition, companies can find information on the recruitment and integration of international employees as well as on The Skilled Immigration Act in the section "Looking for foreign professionals". In addition, "Make it in Germany" offers a clear graphic on the fast-track procedure for skilled workers.

Logo Kofa

The Competence Centre for securing skilled labor (KOFA) supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in finding and binding skilled workers, in gaining a reputation as an attractive employer and remaining competitive and successful.

The International Placement Services (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) is primarily responsible for the immigration of qualified professionals from abroad and for the placement of special occupational groups. The International Personnel Service supports companies in their efforts to recruit qualified professionals in other European and non-European countries.


The "ProRecognition" project aims to establish the Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs) as contact and advice centers for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany. Those who are interested in recognition can obtain information on the recognition procedure in their home country, receive advice on their individual options and receive support in submitting their applications. These information’s are currently available at eleven locations in Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, India, Iran, Italy, Poland and Vietnam. Two further locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Colombia are currently (as of March 2020) under construction.