Recognition of foreign qualifications

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Recognition of foreign qualifications

Example case
is a qualified nurse. After working in a hospital in Poland for 14 years, she became unemployed and decided to come to Germany to work as a domestic helper. She thought that this would be the best option, as there are many offers in Germany for people who are willing to look after old people in their household even without German language skills and a German diploma.

Beata found work with a family by means of a care company. She looks after an elderly woman who also suffers from numerous other diseases. She prepares and serves meals, keeps her company, and helps with dressing. For this work she receives approx. € 2,200 gross per month. Beata would like to return to her real job. On the one hand, she feels bad because she is working below her completed qualification, on the other hand, she knows that she could earn a lot more as a nurse.

1. Recognition advice

To get more information about the opportunities Beata has to work in the profession she has learned, she visits one of the many Advice centres that can advise her on the recognition of her qualifications.

The Advice centres of the support program “Integration through qualification (IQ) ” provide information about the requirements for practicing a profession in Germany and the recognition procedure. The advice is free of charge and is available in several languages. Beata can find the addresses of the local Advice centres on the following website:

Beata can also contact the German-Polish Chamber of Commerce, which is implementing the Pro Recognition project. Pro Recognition offers free advice on the recognition of professional qualifications in numerous national languages of the EU. In addition to Poland, Italy is also taking part in the project. The contact details are:

for Poland:

for Italy: h ttps://

There are also many other advisory institutions for migrants who advise on the subject of “Recognition of foreign professional qualifications”. Beata can find the addresses via the database at the Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers:

Beata can also get the initial advice on recognition through the hotline “Working and living in Germany ” , but questions are only answered in German and English. The hotline can be reached Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:00 on the following number: +49 30 1815-1111

Beata’s profession as a trained nurse is “regulated” in Germany, which means that official recognition is required in order to practice it.

In Beata’s case, her qualification is automatically recognised in Germany due to European regulations. Beata got her diploma after 01.05.2004 (date of EU accession and entry into force of EU regulations for Poland). Her situation would be different if she had received the diploma before this date. In that case, her qualification would only be automatically recognised if she could submit a certificate from the competent authority in Poland that the training completed before accession complied with European minimum standards.

Automatic recognition means that you do not have to test your qualifications individually. Nevertheless, Beata has to go through the recognition process.

If Beata wants to work as a nurse in Germany without restrictions, she needs a State permit. With this permission, she can use the professional title of nurse and practice the profession. Then she can also carry out the activities that are reserved for a nurse under the direction of a doctor, such as giving injections.

For this purpose, Beata must submit an application to the competent recognition office for “Permission to use the job title nurse “. The recognition Advice centre provides Beata with the address of the recognition office as well as further information about the financing options for the procedure.

Beata finds out that good German language skills are essential for practising the profession of a nurse.

2. Recognition office

Beata can find the responsible Recognition office using the following search engine:

There Beata finds out which documents are required for her application. This differs from State to State. As a rule, these are:

  • Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
  • Curriculum vitae in table form
  • Proof of training and, if applicable, further certificates of proficiency
  • Certificates of relevant professional experience
  • Medical certificate of suitability for health
  • Official certificate of good conduct
  • Proof of knowledge of German
  • Current certificate that there are no criminal

The documents must be submitted as originals and with a certified translation.

As a nurse from an EU country, Beata could also apply for the European Professional Card: work/professional-qualifications/ european-professional-card/index_de.htm

The ID is an electronic certificate that can be printed out as a PDF document. The professional card simplifies the recognition process, but cannot replace it. Beata still has to apply for permission to work in Germany. Applying for the European Professional Card is particularly worthwhile if Beata decides to work as a nurse in other EU countries as well as in Germany.

3. Sprachschule

In order to be able to work as a nurse, Beata has to prove that she has the language level B2. Beata can obtain information on vocational and integration language courses from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF):

For her questions about the language courses, e.g. where and when the next course takes place or what it will cost, Beata can also email the BAMF in her Federal State:

4. Financing options

The costs for the procedure are different in the individual Federal States. In addition to the costs of the actual recognition procedure there are costs for example for translations and certifications. That can quickly become too much for Beata financially.

Beata works and has her own income. She can therefore cover her needs and is not dependent on supplementary services from the Job center. However, this also means that she has no way of receiving financial support from the Federal Employment Agency.

For Beata, however, an application for a recognition grant can be considered. With this support e.g. costs for fees and expenses of the recognition procedure, costs for translations and certification of certificates up to a maximum of € 600 will be covered. Application requirements include a minimum stay in Germany of three months and an annual income of a maximum of € 26,000 (gross). The application must be sent to the following address:

Forschungsinstitut Betriebliche Bildung (f-bb)
gGmbH Mühlenstr. 34/36
09111 Chemnitz

The application form is under Annex XIX PDF, 3 MB, not barrier-free

Any IQ or other Migration advice centre will help you fill out the form.

There are additional financing options in the Federal States of Hamburg:       “Hamburg Scholarship Program ”.

More information about the  Hamburg scholarship program at Diaconia Hamburg:

Central point of contact for recognition (ZAA)
Schauenburgerstraße 49
20095 Hamburg
Telephone: (040) 30620-396