An assessment process, formally known as equivalence assessment process, is the comparison of a foreign professional qualification with a German reference qualification. The assessment is conducted by the responsible authorities based on applicable legal regulations (e.g. the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act or the Federal Expellee Law) and fixed criteria (such as content, duration, or places of study during the time of training, as specified in the training regulations). In accordance with the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act, the foreign professional qualification is compared with its current German equivalent.
The assessment process 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.
BMWi is the abbreviation for the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.
BQFG is the German abbreviation for the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgesetz). This law is part of a larger federal law generally referred to as the “Recognition Act” which was designed to facilitate the assessment and recognition of foreign professional qualifications. In addition to the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act, the Recognition Act contains provisions for amendments to laws and regulations concerning specific professions (i.e. sectoral laws).
Compensation/adaptation measures are adjustment qualification programs aimed at compensating for training, skills and knowledge deficits determined in the assessment process, in result of which only partial equivalence was granted. The completion of a compensation measure enables an applicant to obtain full equivalence.
Further information on compensation measures [in German] can be found here.
See: assessment process.
Foreign-trained individuals are persons living in Germany who obtained their technical, vocational or academic qualification outside of Germany. They may be citizens of Germany or another country.
In the formal evaluation, a foreign vocational qualification is compared to a corresponding German qualification; the evaluation is based on a fixed set of criteria, such as content, duration of training, or places of study.
A formal evaluation may be sufficient for determining that a foreign qualification is equivalent to a German reference qualification. If this is the case, the foreign qualification will be recognised as equivalent. If the qualification is not deemed to be fully equivalent, the person’s individual qualifications will be considered, e.g. work experience and advanced training.
If a formal evaluation establishes that a qualification is not fully equivalent, or if it is impossible to evaluate the qualification on a formal basis, e.g. because the information available is insufficient, the formal evaluation will be followed by an individual evaluation. The individual evaluation will consider relevant work experience and additional evidence of training, or it may refer to the results of a qualification analysis.
The BQ-Portal is an intelligent system, meaning an IT system that is continuously expanded by its users and adapted to their requirements. The users actively contribute to the build-up of information on foreign professions and countries – by creating new content or by adding to, commenting on or editing existing content. In addition, they report the results of assessment processes in a password-protected area of the website. The portal provides users with an opportunity to give feedback in order to ensure that it is also technically adapted to their specific needs.
Non-academic qualifications are technical or vocational qualifications, such as those obtained through apprenticeships, training as a master craftsman or engineer, or technical training.
Professional chambers are what are known as “public, self-regulatory organisations.” They are responsible for their own administration and represent the interests of their respective professions. Germany has various professional chambers:
- For industrial professions: chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of trade
- For liberal professions: chambers and associations of liberal professions (e.g. for doctors, lawyers or psychotherapists)
- For agricultural professions: chambers of agriculture
Among other responsibilities, the chambers are in charge of training and evaluation in their particular professions, and thus also of the recognition and assessment of the corresponding foreign qualifications.
The qualification analysis is one of the “other assessment methods” which may be conducted in accordance with Section 14 of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act if an applicant cannot provide the necessary documentation of his or her professional qualifications obtained abroad, or if the evidence is incomplete. The analysis may also be used if the documentation and information subsequently provided by the applicant upon request is not sufficient or if there is doubt that it is genuine or correct, or if the applicant’s identity is uncertain.
The qualification analysis will look at the applicant’s skills, abilities and knowledge with regard to the profession they wish to work in. This may be done through specialised discussions or work samples, for example. The results will be documented in a qualification report and will form part of the equivalence assessment. The PROTOTYPING project [in German] is currently developing processes, tools and methods for this purpose.
The reference qualification is the current corresponding German qualification (e.g. vocational training regulations for a recognised vocation of the dual training system) used for comparison when assessing the equivalence of a foreign professional qualification.
Regulated professions are professions for which legal or administrative regulations – directly or indirectly – require a specific qualification in order to be admitted into the profession or to be allowed to practise the profession. In Germany, this applies to those working in the fields of medicine and law as well as to teachers in state schools and to public-sector workers. Specific requirements must be met for employment in these areas.