Karliczek: Recognition counselling abroad supports acquisition of skilled workers

BMBF to fund counselling of skilled workers at 10 chambers of foreign trade.

As of 1 January 2020, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has approved a new phase of the Pro Recognition project to support the acquisition of skilled workers. The project is being implemented by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) together with 10 chambers of foreign trade. Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek explained:

"As of the start of the year, we are increasing our efforts to attract skilled workers. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil and Colombia, we are creating three new counselling centres for the recognition of vocational qualifications. We are also further expanding existing counselling in Egypt, Algeria, India, Iran, Italy, Poland and Vietnam. In this funding phase we are investing almost € 8 million, double the amount of the first funding phase, which was just below € 4 million.

On 1 March, the Skilled Immigration Act enters into force. The number of applications for recognition will then also increase. The new counselling centres enable skilled workers abroad who are interested in coming to Germany to find out locally about opportunities for vocational recognition. Together with industry and commerce, we are therefore making an important contribution to acquiring skilled workers from abroad."

Dr. Eric Schweitzer, DIHK President added:

"By expanding ProRecognition we are stepping up our joint efforts to acquire skilled workers as we agreed to do in December at the skilled worker summit. The shortage of skilled workers is a huge challenge for companies. The interest in skilled workers from third countries is therefore also increasing. Information about vocational recognition in Germany thus has a critical role to play in this.

The Pro Recognition project has made a big impact in this area which is clear from the recognition figures. In the first phase of the project up to the end of 2019, almost 10,000 counselling sessions took place. As part of this it proved very useful to have the chambers of foreign trade as representatives of German business abroad contributing with their expertise and contacts. They provide valuable support enabling the recognition procedures to be successfully completed."


The Pro Recognition project has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2015. It is implemented by DIHK Service GmbH together with the chambers of foreign trade. The BMBF is funding the new project phase from 2020 to the end of 2023.

The project enables the BMBF and business to contribute together to acquiring skilled workers from abroad. The acquisition of skilled workers from the rest of Europe and from non-European countries is an important pillar of the federal government’s skilled worker strategy. At the skilled worker summit on 17 December 2019, the federal government, federal states, business and trade unions confirmed their intention in a joint declaration to work together to respond to the shortage of skilled workers in Germany.

Since the Recognition Act entered into force in 2012, around 280,000 applications have been submitted for recognition and for certificate assessment. Of these, 140,700 were for occupations regulated at federal level. The numbers of applications from abroad increased steadily. In 2012, 531 applications from abroad were submitted for occupations regulated at federal level, which made up 4.8% of all applications. In 2018 the figure was 5,958 applications, amounting to around one fifth of all applications.

For skilled workers outside the European Union, the recognition of their professional qualification is a requirement for being able to work in Germany as a skilled worker.

The Skilled Immigration Act will create the framework for targeted migration of qualified skilled workers from third countries. The aim is for skilled workers, which businesses in Germany urgently need, to be able to come to Germany. These are, in particular, higher education graduates and individuals with completed qualified vocational education.

Source: press release of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, revised by iMOVE, June 2020