An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Advantages of recognition

Formal professional recognition is necessary in many cases. It may also bring advantages on the labour market and help support long-term integration.

Skilled workers with a foreign professional or vocational qualification require formal recognition if they wish to exercise a regulated profession such as doctor or teacher to its fullest extent in Germany. Persons from third countries need recognition if they want to enter Germany for employment in a non-regulated occupation and if the requirements for alternative residence options with regard to salary and professional experience have not been met. Otherwise, recognition is optional.

A recognition procedure takes time and costs money. Nevertheless, a recognition procedure or individual assessment of a higher education qualification may be worthwhile for foreign skilled workers, for employers and for society as a whole. Various studies have also demonstrated this.

What advantages can recognition bring?

Advantages on the labour market

  • More transparency: An official German language recognition notice confirms the equivalence of foreign qualifications to a German reference occupation. It helps employers have a better understanding of the skills and knowledge skilled workers offer and of the areas they could work in (Brücker et al. 2021). 
  • Greater esteem: Once recognition has been obtained, skilled workers often feel that their employer accords them greater acceptance and esteem (Ekert et al. 2017).
  • Easier entry to employment: Skilled workers with recognition are more likely to be invited to job interviews (Damelang et al. 2020). Full recognition may also assist with finding employment more quickly (Brücker et al. 2021). 
  • Better chance of finding employment which is appropriate to qualifications: Full recognition increases the chances of securing employment which is appropriate to a person’s professional or vocational qualification (Gächter et al. 2018). This means that recognition may protect foreign skilled workers from having to do work for which they are overqualified and prevent precarious work and life circumstances (Loschert et al. 2023). 
  • Prospects of better payment: Recognition can also be worthwhile financially. In the case of full-time employees, earnings three years after full recognition are 20 percent higher on average than the earnings of immigrants without recognition (Brücker et al. 2021). Recognition leads to a better pay scale classification in certain occupational areas (George 2021). 
  • Better career opportunities: Recognition may facilitate advancement within a company and increase loyalty between skilled workers and employers (Ekert et al. 2017). Recognition can also strengthen the position of a skilled worker if they wish to or have to change jobs (SVR 2021 und 2022).
  • Access to continuing training: After obtaining full equivalence, skilled workers may, for example, be able to take part in advanced vocational training leading to the qualification of master craftsman in the crafts and trades sector, industrial or agricultural sectors. Alternatively, they can apply directly for recognition in a master craftsman occupation.
  • Possibility of self-employment: Recognition is necessary in order to become self-employed in some occupations, such as in licensed crafts and trades or in the case of freelance work for which chamber membership is mandatory.
  • Competitive advantage: Formal professional recognition may also be a requirement for the awarding of public contracts in certain sectors (Ekert et al. 2017).
  • Long-term integration: The positive effects of recognition may increase the likelihood that immigrants will remain in Germany and thus support the long-term integration of foreign skilled workers (Boockmann et al. 2022).

Find out here what advantages recognition can bring from the point of view of employers in particular: Advantages of recognition (in German)

Advantages for entry and residence

  • Skilled workers from third countries who have obtained full recognition and have a relevant job offer may come to Germany start any qualified employment in a non-regulated occupation. In other words, recognised training does not necessarily need to be closely related to employment.
  • Recognition makes foreign skilled workers more flexible. Those who have been living in Germany for three years or who have been employed here for two years may then enter employment without further consent from the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Skilled workers with full recognition have quicker access to the option of unlimited residence in Germany (permanent settlement permit).
  • Skilled workers with a recognised higher education or equivalent qualification may apply for the EU Blue Card. The Blue Card also provides a faster route to a permanent settlement permit and makes family reunification easier.
  • Recognition makes it easier to obtain an opportunity card, which allows persons from third countries to enter Germany for the purpose of looking for a job. Skilled workers with partial recognition are awarded four of the six necessary points. Skilled workers with full recognition do not need to provide any evidence of points and obtain the opportunity card straightaway as long as basic living costs can be covered.

Where can I find information on a specific profession?

Use our Recognition Finder to discover whether recognition is helpful or not in your particular case. The Recognition Finder provides information on the respective German reference occupation and details on the recognition procedure.

By the way, if you are an advisor, you can use our Profi-Filter to gain a rapid overview of which professions are regulated and of which body is responsible for the recognition procedure.