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Shortage occupations

German: Engpassberufe
Also: Mangelberufe

For specific occupations in Germany there are not enough employees. This means that there are not enough individuals being trained in these occupations. These professions are known as shortage occupations.

Shortage occupations primarily include technical professions and some healthcare and nursing professions. Shortage occupations are entered in the positive list.

Single Point of Contact

German:  Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner (EA)

The Single Point of Contact is an electronic service from the administrative bodies. The service provides information and support with authority procedures. This also includes the recognition procedure and those procedures required for independent cross-border service provision. In Germany, there is a central Single Point of Contact in each federal state. Individuals from an EU country are able to submit their documents for their recognition procedure using the relevant online portal. The Single Point of Contact forwards these documents to the competent authority.

Your Single Point of Contact can be found here.

Find your Point of Single Contact


Skilled worker

German version: Fachkraft

The following persons are regarded as skilled workers under the Skilled Immigration Act:

  • Persons with completed vocational education and training which is equivalent to at least a two-year vocational education and training course in Germany. Foreign vocational education and training over a short period can be equivalent to qualified vocational education and training in Germany if the training shows no substantial differences or if these can be compensated for.
  • Persons with a higher education qualification which is comparable to a higher education qualification in Germany.
Skills analysis

German: Qualifikationsanalyse

A skills analysis is a particular way of providing evidence of a professional qualification. This evidence is provided subject to the following conditions:

Practical evidence of vocational knowledge and skills is provided in a skills analysis.

For example:

  • Work sample
  • Professional discussion
  • Trial work in a company

The individual must not be at fault themselves for the loss of their documents. The competent authority may require the individual to take an oath on this. The skills analysis is in the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act and in the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code.

Frequently asked questions about skills analysis

Specialist language examination

German: Fachsprachenprüfung, Fachsprachprüfung
Also: Specialist language exam

Those applying for recognition in a healthcare occupation, such as doctor of medicine, pharmacist or physiotherapist, must also demonstrate specialist German language skills. Specialist German language skills means: you also have sufficient knowledge of German in the medical sector.

The specialist language examination is an oral and written examination. It generally involves a discussion between patient and doctor. Those who pass the specialist language examination receive a specialist language certificate. There are different examination levels. The specialist language levels are determined by the occupation.

You do not have to register for the specialist language examination. Those required to sit a specialist language examination are informed by the competent authority.

There is a cost for the specialist language examination.

The specialist language examination is sometimes not required:

  • You are fluent in the German language. This will be determined by the competent authority.
  • The professional qualification comes from a German-speaking university.
  • The professional qualification comes from a German-speaking school after a minimum of 10 years of training.
  • The professional training took at least three years and was conducted in German.
Statement of comparability for foreign higher education qualifications

German: Zeugnisbewertung

Auch: Statement of comparability

An statement of comparability for foreign higher education qualifications is a document from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). The document describes a higher-education qualification from abroad.

The recognition procedures are only for higher-education qualifications which lead to a regulated profession. For those higher-education qualifications which lead to a non-regulated profession there is the statement of comparability. An statement of comparability compares the foreign qualifications with the German qualification following a degree. The assessment of higher education certificates gives information about the vocational and academic opportunities provided by the qualification.

The statement of comparability is requested from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

Further information on the statement of comparability is available here.

State-recognised (designation)

German: staatlich anerkannt (Bezeichnung)
Also: staatliche Anerkennung

In Germany, there are professions with additional qualification designations. These might be, for example, “state-recognised” or “state-certified”. These qualification designations form part of the designation of a vocational qualification or of specific advanced vocational training, For example, “State-recognised social education worker” or “State-certified business specialist”. These designations are legally protected. Only persons who have achieved this qualification may refer to themselves as such.

The designation “state-recognised” does not indicate recognition of a foreign professional qualification!

Substantial differences

German: wesentliche Unterschiede

In the recognition procedure the competent authority checks whether there are substantial differences between a foreign professional qualification and the German reference occupation For example in terms of:

  • Duration of training
  • Knowledge and competencies delivered
  • Skills learned

For those individuals who do not receive full recognition, these differences are specified in the recognition notice. They are called substantial differences.