Professional recognition for ethnic german resettler

Ethnic german resettler at work in hospital
© auremar / Fotolia

Prior to the entering into force of the Recognition Act, ethnic German resettlers already enjoyed the right to a recognition procedure pursuant to the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG). This right still applies. The new procedures under the BQFG may, however, also be of benefit.

Ethnic German resettler status

Ethnic German resettlers are people of German descent from the successor states of the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European states whose right of residence in Germany is based on a special procedure and who fulfil all the standardised prerequisites set out in the Federal Expellees Act. Spouses and children may also fall under these regulations. Such migrants automatically gain German citizenship once they are recognised as ethnic German resettlers.

Recognition procedure

Pursuant to § 10 BVFG, examinations and certificates of ethnic German resettlers are recognised if they are equivalent to the corresponding German qualification.

In non-regulated occupations (training and advanced training qualifications in the dual system such as office management clerk, electronics technician, mechanic, technician), ethnic German resettlers now have a choice. They may, as in the past, elect to gain recognition for vocational qualifications obtained in their region of origin via the procedure stipulated in the Federal Expellees Act (§ 10 BVFG) or else seek to pursue the new equivalence procedure pursuant to the Vocational Qualifications Assessment Law (BQFG). There are a number of differences that need to be considered.



Formal comparison of your training with German training (including with German reference occupation which previously applied if relevant)

Material (content) comparison of your training with German training (with the German reference occupation presently applicable only)

No account taken of occupational experience 

Occupational experience and other continuing training taken into account

No fess payable in some cases or else low fees

Fee payable

Equivalence assessment for vocational qualifications and for school leaving and higher education certificates

Equivalence assessment for vocational qualifications only

If the necessary evidence is not available: replacement certificates and affidavits possible

If the necessary evidence is not available: assessment of occupational competences via “other suitable procedures” (qualifications analysis pursuant to § 14 BQFG)

Depending on their personal profile, ethnic German resettlers can decide which procedure is likely to be more favourable. If they have a considerable amount of occupational experience, a procedure in accordance with the BQFG could offer an advantage since, unlike procedures via the BVFG, the BQFG takes occupational experience into account and thus enables significant differences in training to be compensated for.


As a rule, it is not necessary to apply for a new procedure under the BQFG once the equivalence of the qualifications has been ascertained in accordance with the BVFG and recognition has taken place. The responsible authority will in such circumstances normally refuse an application on the basis of the BQFG (§ 6 Paragraph 5 BQFG).

Reapplication on the basis of the BQFG is possible in principle if a procedure based on the BVFG has ended in rejection. Such a reapplication should, however, only be submitted if, for example, further continuing training courses have now been completed or occupational experience has now  been gained.

Regulated occupations

In the regulated occupations (doctor, nurse, teacher), special provisions are in place for ethnic resettlers in some cases under § 10 BVFG. Ask your responsible authority.

Craft trades

§ 14 Paragraph 5 BVFG provides that persons who ran their own craft trade business or had the authorisation to instruct apprentices prior to resettling from their region of origin may be registered with the Register of Crafts and Trades. Ask your local chamber of crafts and trades.

Establishment of equivalence pursuant to § 10 BVFG leads to the same legal status associated with the German examination or certification. This also encompasses the use of the occupational title or a job title, e.g. master craftsman in the craft trades (§ 51 HwO).

Coronavirus: Fewer recognition services

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some services for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany are currently not available.

You can learn more about recognition from us whenever you like. Take some time to read our information, available in 11 languages! Then you will be well informed for the next steps.

Via the Recognition Finder you can find out everything about the recognition procedure for your occupation, which documents you need and where you should send your application: › To the Recognition Finder

Our FAQ provide answers to the most common questions about recognition:  › To the FAQs

You can find out which services are not available or only available to a limited extent by checking our information page on the current situation: › To the information page