Over 19.800 applications for recognition of foreign professional qualifications were processed in 2016 in Germany. The competent authorities responsible for the recognition procedure compare the applicants’ foreign qualification to the corresponding German qualification in order to determine their equivalence. The key criterion for granting equivalence is that as a result of foreign vocational training the applicant has acquired the knowledge and skills necessary for practising that profession in Germany. In addition to formal learning outcomes, relevant work experience or other evidence of competence are taken into consideration.
In most of the cases, full or partial equivalence could be attested in 2016. Only 3.4% of the applicants received a negative ruling. One has to bear in mind that partial equivalence is broadly defined and, thus, ranges from “only limited” to “large overlaps between the German and the foreign qualification”. The significant differences which can be compensated through a formalised additional training (compensation measures), vary accordingly. The share of those granted full equivalence is, though, very high. They make up 66,4 % of all applicants.
Regulated professions: In order for these occupations to be exercised a full equivalence is required. This is primarily the case in health professions (e.g. doctors, general care nurses etc.) and regulated master craftsman occupations. About three quarters (74.9%) of the recognition procedures deal with regulated professions. In case it is not possible to attest full equivalence, the assessment notification imposes compensation measures which have to be fulfilled in order to acquire full equivalence.
Non-regulated professions: These include occupations that require prior vocational and advanced training qualifications such as electronics technician, mechatronics technician, office clerk etc. About one quarter (25.1%) of the recognition procedures are concerned with non-regulated professions. In case it is not possible to grant full equivalence, a partial equivalence is attested. After the fulfilment of the imposed compensation measures full equivalence can be acquired.
Equivalence quotas: The equivalence evaluation generally consists of two stages: the formal and the individual evaluation. The formal evaluation is sometimes sufficient for determining equivalence. In such cases, an official notification is issued stating that the foreign professional qualification is equivalent to the German reference qualification. If it is not possible to determine equivalence based on formal qualifications alone, the individual evaluation will take additional evidence of training and relevant work experience into consideration. Therefore the equivalence quotas in the recognition statistics base on mostly individual equivalence evaluations.