An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Professional recognition for refugees

Did you have to leave your country and are you seeking refuge in Germany? Recognition of your professional qualification may be helpful or even necessary for your professional future.

Answers to the following questions are provided here:

  • Is professional recognition possible for refugees?
  • Do I need professional recognition to be able to work in Germany?
  • Where can I find information and advice on professional recognition?

Latest: War in Ukraine

The help portal “Germany4Ukraine” provides refugees from Ukraine with information about residence, work, accommodation, and medical care. The information is provided in Ukrainian, German, English and Russian.


Is professional recognition possible for refugees?

Yes. If you are a refugee in Germany, you can apply for recognition of your vocational qualification. This is because professional recognition has nothing to do with residence status or nationality.

However, specific documents are needed for the application for recognition, e.g., the qualification certificate. If these documents are missing, you can also provide practical proof of your vocational skills in many cases. Depending on the profession, this is possible by means of a skills analysis, an adaptation period or a knowledge test


Do I need professional recognition to be able to work in Germany?

This depends on your residence permit, on the work permit associated with this, and on your profession.

The official name for the work permit is permission to commence gainful employment. This permission is granted by the Immigration Office by means of a note in the residence permit. Individuals from third countries require this note in the residence permit in order to be allowed to work in Germany. Recognition of the foreign professional qualification is not necessary for this permission.

You do need recognition however if you would like to work in a regulated occupation. Regulated occupations are legally protected occupations, for example in the nursing, health and education sectors. Recognition is not needed for non-regulated professions such as motor vehicle mechatronics technician or office manager. However, it is helpful for applications or in salary negotiations. This is because employers are able to immediately identify your vocational skills and knowledge in the official notice of recognition.


Where can I find information and advice on professional recognition?

Information on the recognition of foreign professional qualifications is available here at “Anerkennung in Deutschland” in 11 languages. We recommend this page to start with: What is professional recognition?

In the Recognition Finder, you can obtain information in German and English about German occupations and about the recognition procedure.

The “Working and Living in Germany” hotline answers questions about entry, residence, looking for a job and learning German. It also offers an initial advisory session on professional recognition.

You can also receive advice in-person and get help with recognition. An advisory centre local to you can be found via the advice search.

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pdf, 532 KB
Anerkennung in Deutschland, 2023

Recognition of foreign professional or vocational qualifications in Germany

The current flyer describes important stages on the way to recognition and lists free sources of information and advice. Now available in 12 languages for viewing and ordering.

Download flyer

Video on recognition

The video explains clearly how the recognition of foreign professional qualifications works. “Make it in Germany” and “Anerkennung in Deutschland” worked together to produce the video.

By viewing the video, you are stating that you consent to your data being sent to YouTube and that you have read the privacy policy.

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pdf, 469 KB
BIBB, 2021

Fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions about the skills analy­sis

In cer­tain cas­es, recog­ni­tion is pos­si­ble with a skills analy­sis. The ap­pli­cants’ brochure pro­vides an­swers to fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions.

Further information for refugees

Refugees are able to study in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides information in German and English on its page “Study opportunities for refugees”.

DAAD: Study opportunities for refugees