Approval of job licenses

Anyone wishing to work in an profession in Germany for which he/she has qualified in another country is in many cases first required to have his/her qualifications recognised.
The Law to Improve the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications (Recognition Act or BQFG) entered into force on 1 April 2012. This law makes the recognition of occupational and educational qualifications in Germany easier. What is new, above all, is that migrants now have the legal right for occupational qualifications which they have brought with them from another country to be verified within a period of three months. This does not occur automatically, but only after an appropriate request has been submitted. This verification process serves to assess whether the foreign qualification is equivalent to the German qualification, or at least whether certain parts of the qualification may also be recognised in Germany. This is why this is referred to as an equivalence assessment procedure. It is important to point out that the applicant himself/herself is required to bear the cost.

The Federal Ministry of Education estimates that up to 300,000 persons could benefit from the law. Since this is a Federal Law, it only applies to professions that are governed by Federal regulations. This, for example, includes doctors, solicitors, commercial occupations and trades.

The Recognition Act in North Rhine Westphalia  

To complement the Recognition Act, the different Federal States (Bundesländer) are also preparing appropriate laws with the aim of making the recognition of qualifications for professions that are governed by Federal State regulations easier. Such professions, for example, include engineers, architects, school teachers and nursery school teachers.  The Federal State parliament (Landtag) has passed a “Recognition Law” of North Rhine Westphalia on May 15th 2013. This Federal State law covers 165 professions.

Which Qualifications are not Covered by these Laws?

Not all professions are covered by the Recognition Act and the Federal State Recognition Laws. Hence, university degrees that are not geared towards a specific (regulated) profession, for example, are not covered. The same applies to foreign school leaving qualifications. Other recognition procedures are in place for the assessment of such qualifications.

Which Advisory Services are Available?

There are two points of contact in Bonn which are capable of providing initial advice: “Bildungswerk für Friedensarbeit” and “LerNet Bonn/Rhein-Sieg”. Both provide basic information on the options for having qualifications recognised and provide assistance in finding the responsible body to which the request should be submitted. The exact addresses of these first-line advisory points of contact are contained in the following fact sheet:

First-Line Advisory Points of Contact Flyer  

Advice is also provided by the responsible bodies. The Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) Bonn/Rhein-Sieg is the appropriate point of contact for professions in industry and commerce. It provides detailed information on the equivalence and recognition of foreign educational qualifications on its Website .

Advice in the German or English languages may be obtained by telephone by calling the Germany-wide hotline on 030 – 1815 1111. It is open from Monday to Friday between 9 and 15 hrs.

It is also possible for everyone to find out for themselves where a certain qualification can be recognised by accessing the online-portal “Anerkennung in Deutschland”. The Anerkennungs-Finder directs the user to the responsible body’s address in three steps. The portal also provides answers to all important questions regarding the procedure and gives practical tips for submitting the request.  

Further information can be found on:

The Education Advice Centre of the Education Authority of the City of Bonn (Bildungsberatungsstelle des Schulamtes der Stadt Bonn) has also compiled important information and addresses on the recognition of foreign and international certificates and qualifications. You can obtain this compilation of information and addresses as a download in the right column of this page.

In addition, there are a wide variety of options for developing the professional knowledge and skills you have brought with you, including the possibility of obtaining state support. Further information can be found on this portal under “Weiterbildung”.


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