The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act
The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act came into effect on 1 April 2012 and provides the legal basis for assessing foreign professional qualifications.
- 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 assessment 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 assessment 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.
Legal basis and framework outlined by the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act
- 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.
The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act came into force on 1 April 2012 for professions regulated at the national level. Some professions, however, are regulated at the state, or Länder level, which means that the states are also in charge of recognising professional qualifications obtained abroad. We’ll provide you with the most important facts about this topic.
For certain professions in Germany training is standardised. These are called regulated professions. A person can only work in a regulated profession if they have completed the relevant standardised professional training. A list of regulated professions can be found here.
Professional qualifications of EU and EEA citizens are assessed according to a Directive issued by the EU Parliament and the EU Council.
Ethnic German repatriates can choose to have their qualifications assessed according to Section 10 of the Federal Expellee Law. Further information can be found here.
The Employment Act came into effect on 1 July 2013. It allows qualified professionals to relocate to Germany, provided their qualifications have been recognised as equal to German qualifications, and provided that there is a demand for their skills in the German labour market.
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
- Section 10 of the Federal Expellee Law, for people with ethnic German repatriate status
- Bilateral Agreements with France and Austria [in German]
Further information on the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act
- “Integrationsrendite” – Study on the economic benefits of better integration of immigrants [in German]:
This study looks at a number of central indicators related to education, the labour market and income in order to analyse how successfully immigrants are currently being integrated. Looking at causes and effects, it suggests ways of improving the current situation and quantifies the cost and benefit of such a strategy.
- The "Brain Waste" study [in German]:
This study conducts analyses and empirical research to examine current recognition processes in Germany and highlights the risks and opportunities associated with recognising qualifications obtained abroad. In addition, it suggests effective ways of supporting foreign immigrants on the basis of their professional qualification as they integrate in the German labour market.
- “The new Recognition Act – new tasks for the chambers and support from the BQ-Portal” [in German]:
This issue of the a magazine on vocational training in theory and practice (“Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis – BWP”), which is published by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), focuses on the new Recognition Act. The issue provides background information to the new law, describes its initial implementation and outlines perspectives for the future.