Until recently, it was not always possible to reliably assess the quality of professional qualifications obtained abroad. As a result, the skills and abilities of foreign-trained professionals have often gone unused. The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act, also known as the Recognition Act, which came into effect on 1 April 2012, is aimed at resolving this problem: It has been designed to facilitate the assessment and recognition of foreign professional qualifications. People with foreign professional qualifications may now have their qualifications evaluated by an assessment authority (e.g. chamber of trade or industry), irrespective of their nationality. As part of the assessment process, the applicant’s foreign qualification will be compared to the corresponding German qualification in order to determine their equivalence.
Here you can find the legal text, amendments and background papers to the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act:
- The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (the current version of the Act dated December 25, 2016): The German Recognition Act is a federal law which was designed to facilitate the assessment and recognition of foreign professional qualifications. It is an ‘omnibus act’ meaning that it comprises several laws and amendments to existing laws. The first Article contains the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act. Articles 2 to 61 contain amendments to professional laws and provisions concerning regulated professions, such as the Trade and Crafts Code, the Civil Service Act and the Nursing Act.
- Amendment to the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act and Other Acts (December 22, 2015): the act serves the implementation of the EU-directive 2013/55/EU on the recognition of professional qualifications and on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System ( ‘the IMI Regulation’ ).
- As of 1 August 2013, a change in the legal basis: the passage of the E-Government Act [in German], which came into force on 1 August 2013, made the application process for the recognition procedure easier: An application for assessment of a foreign qualification can be submitted per e-mail: The amendment to paragraph 6 article 1 of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act enables the applicants to submit an application for equivalence assessment directly per e-mail. Previously, the applicants were obliged to hand in the application per mail, fax or e-mail with qualified electronic signature. The requirement to submit originals or certified copies in accordance with paragraph 5 article 1 of the Professional Qualifications Assessment remains in force. The recognition procedure could be simplified and accelerated through a new legislation that would allow submitting simple copies, especially in the case of applications from abroad. “Place of residence of the applicant” will be considered (amendment to paragraph 17 article 2): the place of residence of the applicant is important for evaluating the regional distribution of applications as well as for collecting data on the applications from abroad. Thus, the assessment authorities collect from now on data on the place of residence alongside nationality, gender and date of application. The place of residence will be included in the next release of statistics.
- Existing legal provisions remained in force:
- Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as amended by Directive 2013/55/EU in 2014, for EU citizens working in regulated professions;
- Bilateral Agreements with France and Austria [in German].
- Section 10 of the Federal Expellee Law, for people with ethnic German repatriate status;
- Background of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act [in German]: The explanations on the German Recognition Act provide an overview of the purpose of the law, its structure and content, the methods in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act and the amendments to provisions governing specific professions. They are aimed at making it easier to understand the law.
- “AG Vollzug” information leaflet [in German]: This information leaflet on the assessment of foreign professional qualifications will provide those wishing to have their qualifications recognised in Germany with important information regarding the German Recognition Act. It deals with questions such as: What is the Recognition Act about? Who can have their qualifications assessed? Which documents do you require?
- Information on choices available for ethnic German repatriates under the Federal German Expellee Law: German repatriates can choose whether they would like to have their qualifications assessed in accordance with Section 10 of the Federal Expellee Law or in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act.