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Labour market access

The legal or professional requirements for being able to work in Germany as a foreigner.

The Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz—AufenthG) regulates access to the labour market. Different regulations exist for citizens of different countries. What’s important here is the reason for the residence (see residence permit). Freedom of movement applies to residents from EU/EEA/Switzerland.

Language certificate

German: Sprachzertifikat
Also: Sprachdiplom, Sprachtest, Sprachnachweis, Deutschzertifikat

Evidence of German language skills is required for many regulated professions. This evidence is provided by a so-called language certificate or language diploma. The person must pass a language test successfully and will then receive a language certificate or a language diploma. A language certificate certifies the level of German language skills. The level is determined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (GER) There are different language levels. Each profession requires a specific level of language. The competent authority provides information about the level of language required for the specific profession and about the language certificate.

Language certificates for German include:

Liberal professions

German: Freie Berufe

Many professions are so-called liberal professions. These are professions which, by law, require a specific qualification or in which an individual works scientifically or artistically. The liberal professions include for example:

  • Medical practitioner
  • Lawyer
  • Tax accountant
  • Architect
  • Journalist
  • Physiotherapist

Individuals working in the liberal professions (freelancers) offer their services or work to other people for money. They are normally self-employed and work independently. This means that they have no employer.

Liberal professions are not trades or businesses (German: Gewerbe) For many liberal occupations, recognition of a foreign professional qualification is required.