The amended Employment Act: promoting a welcoming culture

The German Employment Act defines which training and professional qualifications are necessary for non-EU citizens to take up employment in Germany. The German government has now amended this law, and the new version is scheduled to come into effect on 1 July, marking an important step towards an even more welcoming culture in Germany.

In the past, qualified professionals from non-EU countries could only take up employment in Germany if they were university graduates. The only exceptions concerned some isolated “exotic” trades such as chefs for specialised cuisine or bilateral agreements in the nursing sector.

From July 2013, qualified non-academic professionals will also be able to take up employment in Germany. And it’s high time, too: Germany is increasingly feeling the effects of worker shortages and demographic change. Shortages are not only limited to doctors and engineers, but also affect technical professions such as electricians, welders and mechanical engineers.

The Federal Employment Agency is going to compile a list of professions which are subject to shortages, so that the respective professionals may immigrate to Germany. It is important that this list is publicly accessible so that international candidates and German companies can easily see in which areas immigration procedures have been simplified.
The value of German vocational training and the “Made in Germany” label will not be compromised, as foreign professionals will have to have their qualifications assessed for equivalence with its German counterpart before they can take up employment in Germany. The Recognition Act offers a number of options for assessing foreign qualifications (more information is available at