Minister Karliczek: Recognition of professional qualifications benefits skilled worker recruitment

Procedure ensures labour market integration and qualified immigration.

The cabinet has approved the report on the Recognition Act 2019. Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek explained: "We are making progress with professional recognition. I am pleased about this as it makes a valuable contribution to attracting skilled workers from abroad. The recognition procedure ensures transparency and quality in the immigration of skilled workers, and greater permeability in the labour market. Since the Recognition Act entered into force in 2012, around 280,000 applications have been submitted for recognition and for certificate assessment. The Recognition Act demonstrates the value we attach to qualifications acquired abroad. As a location for business innovation, Germany is reliant on foreign skilled workers. People are exercising their rights to a recognition procedure – and often with success: Over the past year, around half of foreign vocational qualifications were recognised as fully equivalent when judged against the "comparable occupation" in Germany.

Over recent years, the Federal Government has made ongoing improvements to the framework conditions for recognition. We want to continue on this path. We shall further develop the central information platform 'Recognition in Germany' and also extend financial support through the recognition grant. For skilled workers abroad interested in coming to Germany, we are creating a central point of contact – the Central Service Centre for Vocational Recognition. Together with the federal states, we aim to make the recognition procedure even more transparent and faster.

The new recognition report shows that the vocational recognition procedure is improving career opportunities. With full recognition, salary rises by an average of €860 per month. Because recognition pays off, interest from applicants is understandably high. It also ensures the quality of immigrant skilled workers. The Recognition Act thus ensures a win-win situation in the truest sense".


The 2019 Report on Recognition is the result of the statutory monitoring of the Recognition Act. This is conducted by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The Report on Recognition provides information about the latest developments concerning recognition in Germany.

The recognition procedure checks whether a foreign vocational qualification is equivalent to the respective German reference occupation. From 2012 to 2018, official statistics recorded a total of around 140,700 applications for recognition of occupations regulated at federal level alone, of which approximately three-quarters were in the regulated sector (in particular general nurse and medical practitioner) and one quarter in the non-regulated sector. In 2018, around 29,200 equivalence checks were applied for in occupations which fall under federal competence (an increase of 16.8 per cent compared to the previous year).

In 52.5 per cent of completed procedures in occupations regulated at federal level in 2018, notification of full equivalence was issued. In only 2.3 per cent of cases was no equivalence established. In more than two-thirds of applications submitted in 2018 (69.4 percent), the vocational qualification was obtained in a third country, mainly Syria (3,177 applications), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,880 applications) and Serbia (2,472 applications).

Increasing demand for professional recognition from skilled workers in third countries is to be expected, and this will pose new challenges for the competent authorities. The issue of sufficient staffing for processing applications will also become all the more important, as will the question of how knowledge sharing can be further improved and how the necessary cooperation and networking within the framework of the recognition procedure can be intensified.

Source: press release of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, revised by iMOVE, March 2020