Foreign skilled workers

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.
Titelbild Fachkräfte aus dem Ausland

The FEG and its opportunities for companies

The amendment of the Skilled Immigration Act (FEG) makes it easier for the foreign skilled workers with vocational training and foreign individuals with practical knowledge to immigrate to Germany. New entry routes, for example by means of recognition partnerships or opportunity cards, will be added. These make the recruitment of skilled workers from abroad simpler and more flexible. The new regulations will come into force successively from November 2023 until June 2024. The upcoming changes are explained at Make it in Germany.

The most important regulations of the FEG are presented below, particularly in terms of recognition of professional qualifications: 

  • International skilled workers with a higher education or professional qualification of at least two years, recognized by the government of the country of training, may work in any non-regulated professions. The foreign qualification must be recognized as equivalent in Germany, but the job does not have to be related to professional qualifications. Link to Make it in Germany

  • Skilled workers can enter in Germany to take up employment as part of the recognition partnership, and to complete the recognition procedure of their professional qualification at the same time. The requirements are a qualification for at least two years, recognized by the government of the country of training, and a proof of German language skills at A2 level.  Recognition of the professional qualification takes place after the entry in Germany. Link to Make it in Germany

  • Skilled workers can work in Germany without having recognized their professional qualification, if they have completed at least two years of vocational training in a non-regulated profession and have two years of relevant professional experience in the last five years. The professional qualification must be recognized by the country of training.  Salary regulations must be considered here. Link to Make it in Germany

  • By a notification of partial equivalence, skilled workers can enter Germany to attend qualification measure programs to achieve full equivalence. The period of residence permit is 24 months and can be extended by a further year. Link to Make it in Germany 

  • The introduction of an opportunity card from June 2024, based on a points system, will enable third-country nationals to stay in Germany to look for employment. Points are given for criteria such as recognition of qualifications in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age, and link back to Germany.

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

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 18 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 fast-track procedure for skilled workers

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 fast-track procedure for skilled workers (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 skilled worker'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.

Kompetenzzentrum Fachkräftesicherung

The Competence Centre for securing skilled labour (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.