FAQ - frequently asked questions about the recognition of foreign professional qualifications

You have a foreign professional qualification, would like to work in your profession in Germany and have lots of questions about what to do? Then you've come to the right place. Under “FAQ - frequently asked questions about the recognition of foreign professional qualifications” you will find numerous answers. Is your question missing? Simply send us an e-mail to info(at)ebb-bildung.de!

 

How can IQ help me if I am new in Germany?

The German labour market needs skilled workers. If you have just arrived in Germany for work, lots of things will still be new to you and will seem complicated to start with. The Network IQ – Integration through Qualification will help you find your feet in the German labour market. This help is free of charge.

What does Network IQ offer?

IQ advice on recognition and job training

You are only permitted to work in some professions in Germany if your foreign professional qualifications have been recognised. To obtain recognition, you apply to the competent authority. The competent authority checks whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent to the German professional qualification.

Network IQ will support you during this recognition procedure. The staff at the IQ advice centres are able to help you compile the certificates and documents you need to send to the competent authority. They can also help you complete and submit the recognition application. 

Sometimes, the assessment notice from the competent authority tells you that your foreign training is not yet equivalent to the German training. This is because substantial differences currently still exist. You can compensate for substantial differences by completing job training. After this you are able to obtain full recognition.

Network IQ will also help you find appropriate job training.

IQ recognition and job training advice centres are available here.

IQ job training support and IQ job training

As part of an IQ job training support, IQ employees will help you, for example, by creating a training plan. IQ employees can also help you in the search for appropriate training and with organisational matters (consultation with employment authorities, organisations etc.). The support provided sometimes also includes advice on funding options

Network IQ also provides job training itself. This enables you – for example if you receive partial recognition – to compensate for substantial differences between a foreign and German professional qualification. 

What if you haven't completed vocational education and training but you do have professional experience? Network IQ can also help you get on to the labour market. IQ staff will coach you, determine the skills you have acquired informally or non-formally, and ensure you are visible to employers. This increases the chances of you finding a job appropriate to your level of ability and your practical experience.

IQ job training support, IQ job training and other IQ offers can be found here.

Advice on Fair Integration

IQ's Fair Integration service provides advice on social welfare and employment law issues. It is aimed at refugees or migrants who have come to Germany from a third country (outside the EU) and who are already working in Germany. You can, however, also contact Fair Integration if you have not yet arrived in Germany and need information on social welfare and employment law issues.

For example, if you have questions about your contract of employment or about a notice of termination, you can contact a Fair Integration advice centre. Advice is available in all federal states and is free of charge, anonymous, and available in multiple languages. The Fair Integration website also provides lots of information and materials about employment law.

Further details about the IQ Fair Integration service and about searching for advice centres is available here.

In what cases can I work without recognition?

Our colleagues working in IQ advice on recognition are often asked the question: 
Can you also work in Germany without recognition of a foreign professional qualification? 

The answer is yes, in certain cases this is possible. In non-regulated professions you can also work without recognition because, in this case, there are no state regulations governing authorisation to practice. Non-regulated professions include professions in the skilled crafts

However, in some cases, you are also required to show recognition of your foreign qualification for employment in non-regulated professions. This is linked to the right of residence in Germany. For example, in specific cases you need recognition to obtain a visa or work permit for Germany.

Our tip is to seek advice! 

If you have not yet arrived in Germany, then the “Working and Living in Germany” hotline can help you with this.

If you are already living in Germany, you can get advice from our colleagues at Network IQ. Advice centres near you are available here.

Please note: it may also be worthwhile getting your vocational training or university-level education from abroad recognised in Germany. Recognition gives you better opportunities on the labour market and you will also receive better pay.

Information about recognition of your profession is available in the Recognition Finder on the federal government's information portal “Anerkennung in Deutschland”.

Helpful information for skilled workers from abroad is also available on the federal government's multilingual portal Make it in Germany.

In what cases is recognition always required?

You will always need recognition of your foreign qualification if you want to work in Germany in a regulated profession. This is because there are statutory provisions governing regulated professions. These stipulate that you can only practice the profession once evidence of specific qualifications has been provided. Regulated professions include all medical professions and also the professions of teacher and architect.

For persons from the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland, recognition has been simplified in some regulated occupations; this is known as automatic recognition. This is possible because the states referred to (member states) have agreed on uniform training standards which means the qualifications are therefore comparable. It is important to note that automatic recognition requires training to have been completed in a country in the EU, the European Economic Area or in Switzerland. 

Automatic recognition is available for the following occupations:

  • Doctor of medicine
  • Dentist
  • Veterinary surgeon
  • Pharmacist
  • General nurse (general care)
  • Midwife
  • Architect

Important: Jobs exist in some regulated professions where you can work without recognition. Do you have a foreign qualification as an engineer? If so, employment in an engineering office may also be possible in certain cases without recognition. However, you are then not permitted to refer to yourself as an engineer as the job title is subject to protection in Germany. 

It is also possible to work without recognition in the regulated profession of teacher, e.g. in private schools, as a private tutor or in adult education. The dossiers “Professional recognition for engineers” and “Professional recognition for teachers” provide further helpful information about these areas of work.
The Recognition Finder on the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” information portal shows you whether your profession is regulated in Germany. 

Alternatively, you can also use the European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database to search for this.

What can I do if I have only received partial recognition?

When you apply to the competent authority for recognition of a foreign professional qualification, the competent authority checks whether your training is equivalent to the German training. They inform you of the result of this check in an assessment notice.

Sometimes, the assessment notice from the competent authority tells you that your foreign training is not yet equivalent to the German training. This is because substantial differences currently still exist. This result from the recognition procedure is also referred to as “partial recognition”. One explanation of this might be, for example, that the foreign training was shorter than the German training and involved fewer hours of teaching. Or it might be that specific training content is missing from the foreign training.

What can you do if you have only received partial recognition? You can compensate for substantial differences by means of a compensation measure or refresher training. After this you are able to obtain full recognition.

Compensation measures in regulated professions

A compensation measure enables you to obtain full recognition in a regulated profession. This is important because without full recognition you are not permitted to work in a regulated profession in Germany. In Germany, for example, regulated professions include all medical professions and also the professions of teacher and architect. If you want to obtain full recognition, you usually have the option of choosing between an adaptation period or a knowledge test. You must opt for one of these alternatives.

In an adaptation period, you will learn the training content which you are still missing. The assessment notice from the competent authority will tell you what this is and how long the adaptation period lasts for. 

A knowledge test enables individuals in regulated medical professions to compensate for substantial differences. The knowledge test generally has a verbal and a practical element, each of which examine the training content of the German final examination.

Refresher training in non-regulated professions

Refresher training enables you to obtain full recognition in a non-regulated profession. While it is possible in certain cases to work in these professions without recognition, recognition does bring lots of advantages. If your foreign professional qualification is recognised, it is legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. For you, this means you have better chances of finding the right job and you can earn more money.

Support from Network IQ

Network IQ can help you on your path to full recognition:
→    Some projects from IQ even offer job training which enables you to obtain full recognition. Job training of this type is available for both regulated and for non-regulated professions.
→    Network IQ also offers job training support. IQ employees advise and help you to search for appropriate job training, work shadowing or placements. They also advise and support with the process of professional integration.

A summary of IQ offers is available here.

Where can I get support during job training?

IQ job training support is available in many towns and regions of Germany. These are Network IQ offers which support you while you participate in one of the many job training schemes available. The job training scheme itself is not part of the IQ job training support. You complete the job training with a different training provider.
IQ job training support is available for both regulated and for non-regulated professions. IQ offers are sometimes also tailored to specific professions, occupational fields or subjects. 

You are only permitted to work in regulated professions in Germany if you have received full recognition. If this is not yet the case, then a job training scheme enables you to compensate for substantial differences. In regulated professions this type of job training is known as an adaptation period. In an adaptation period, you will learn the training content which you are still missing. 

Refresher training allows you to obtain full recognition in non-regulated professions. While it is possible in certain cases to work in these professions without recognition, recognition does bring lots of advantages. If your foreign professional qualification is recognised, it is legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. For you, this means you have better chances of finding the right job and you can earn more money.

What does the Network IQ support in the context of job training support specifically involve? 

  • The aim of IQ job training support is to help you gain employment appropriate to the level of your qualification or to achieve full recognition of your foreign professional qualification. IQ employees provide advice and support throughout the job training scheme.
  • For example, as part of job training support, IQ employees will help by creating a training plan for you. IQ employees can also help you in the search for appropriate training and with organisational matters (consultation with employment authorities, providers etc.). The support provided sometimes also includes advice on funding options

Appropriate IQ training support near to where you live can be found here.

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