The agreement of 10 February 2021 replaces the previous agreement with Switzerland on the mutual recognition of craft trade examinations. It has a broader scope and, compared to national regulations which apply in other respects, simplifies the mutual recognition of vocational qualifications. With the treaty law having been announced in the Federal Law Gazette, the agreement has come into force on 1 September 2021.
On the German side, the agreement will apply to all initial and advanced vocational education and training qualifications regulated at federal level under the Vocational Training Act and the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code, while on the Swiss side the agreement will apply to vocational education and training qualifications and to qualifications achieved in federal examinations in tertiary level professional education (federal diplomas of higher education and the advanced federal diplomas of higher education) under the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act. The aim is to make it easier for skilled workers with the relevant qualification – such as specialists in the hotel business or electronics technicians – to practise their professions and to complete continuing vocational education and training in the other country. This should also increase cross-border mobility.
The vocational education and training systems in both countries have a lot in common and the occupational profiles are often very similar. Both nations rely on high-quality dual education and training. The previous agreement from 1937 only applied to occupations from the crafts and trades sector and was no longer up to date. The validity of the EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications for regulated professions is not affected by the agreement.
Procedure for recognition following the agreement
In Germany you apply for the procedure to the competent chambers in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG); the procedure is implemented by the chambers and replaces the individual examination for determining equivalence. The outcomes of equivalence assessments which have already taken place are documented and made available to the competent authorities as working tools. The working tools are lists of occupations; they are not part of the formal agreement. These lists make the procedure easier for the competent authorities and are used as a basis for decision making when determining equivalence. In future, these lists are to be updated on a regular basis. The goal is to create a flexible system which can be used to respond quickly to future changes in vocational education and training courses.
German-Swiss agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications
BMBF press release of 10.02.2021
Bilateral agreements on recognition
EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications