Foreign professional qualifications: five percent more recognitions in 2020

In 2020, 44,800 training qualifications obtained abroad were recognised as fully or partially equivalent to a qualification obtained in Germany.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), this was five percent more recognitions than in the previous year (42,500). There was a decrease however in the number of new applications. In 2020, 42,000 new applications were submitted for recognition of a foreign professional qualification, which was 3 percent fewer than in 2019 (43,100).

Coronavirus masking influence of the Skilled Immigration Act on recognitions 

The Skilled Immigration Act entered into force on 1 March 2020. This regulates the immigration of skilled workers entering Germany and, for example, includes an accelerated procedure for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. The extent to which the coronavirus crisis has prevented an increase in new applications due to the Skilled Immigration Act cannot be determined from the figures available. However, a dampening effect of the coronavirus seems likely since restrictions due to the pandemic, for example, have made it more difficult for foreign skilled workers to enter Germany.

Two-thirds of all recognitions are in medical health care occupations

In 2020, there were 29,900 recognitions in medical health care occupations – an increase of eight percent. This represented a significant slowdown in the very positive trend from previous years. In 2019, the increase compared to the previous year was still at 24 percent, in 2018 this was 27 percent and 19 percent in 2017. It can also be assumed in this case that the coronavirus crisis has influenced the latest figures.

Overall, in 2020, two thirds (67 percent or 29,900) of all recognised professional qualifications were again recorded in the medical health care occupations (2019: 27,700 or 65 percent).

General nurses recognised for the first time

Since 2020, training in Germany in paediatric nursing, general nursing and geriatric nursing has been merged into the single occupational profile of general nurse. The vast majority of recognitions in 2020 were in the former general nurse occupation (15,500) still being phased out, however the first 800 recognitions were also registered in the new single occupation of general nurse. The foreign skilled workers this concerns are therefore the first individuals to have this professional title – even before the first trainees complete their training as general nurses under the new single occupational profile. In the other two outgoing occupations, 400 qualifications were recognised for paediatric nurses and a further 100 for geriatric nurses.

Former general nurse occupation most frequently recognised

In 2020, there has been no change to the list of the most frequently recognised occupations compared to the previous year. The former general nurse occupation continues to top the list with 15,500 recognitions (2019 also 15,500). The doctor of medicine occupation comes a distant second with 7,600 recognitions (2019 7,400). After this come the occupations of engineer with 2,500 recognitions (2019: 2,800), teacher with 2,100 (2019: 2,000) and nursery school teacher with 1,200 recognitions (2019: 900). – all three are occupations regulated at federal state level.

Professional qualifications from Bosnia and Herzegovina recognised most often

In 2020, professional qualifications from over 150 states where the training was completed were recognised as fully or partially equivalent to a qualification obtained in Germany.

Qualification recognitions from member states of the European Union (11,400), the rest of Europe (16,500) and Asia (11,300) were significantly ahead of other regions of the world. In terms of individual states, it was applications from Bosnia Herzegovina (3,600), Serbia (3,400) and Syria (3,100) which most often received a positive recognition notice.

59,000 recognition procedures completed in total

Overall, the competent authorities responsible for recognition completed approximately 59,000 recognition procedures in 2020 (2019: 57,300). Around four out of every five procedures were for regulated professions (48,300) while one fifth were for non-regulated professions (10,700). The vast majority (77 percent) of completed procedures (45,4000)) were subject to federal law while 23 percent (13,600) came under state law.

Source: (news portal on the German city of Gutersloh), revised by iMOVE, December 2021