31.7.2012 | Von:
Daria Braun


Although Germany can look back on a decades-long history of immigration, the subject of the accreditation (or ‘recognition’/in German: Anerkennung) of qualifications that have been acquired abroad has been given increasing attention only in roughly the last five years.

Apotheker der Apotheke am Südstern, Berlin-KreuzbergPharmacist in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. (© Susanne Tessa Müller)

The issue is becoming volatile because of demographic changes which will in the future only increase the shortage of skilled workers that is already noticeable in Germany and other European countries. According to the calculations of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research [German acronym: IW], in 2011 there was already a shortage of over 158,000 highly qualified workers, particularly in the industrial sector of the MINT professions (mathematics, informatics, natural sciences, and technology) (BMWi 2012a). In order to counteract this shortage of skilled workers, in June 2011 the German federal government reached an agreement on five strategies for tapping skilled workers.[1] Included in this is, among other things, the improved full utilization of domestic labor potential, particularly in the population of immigrant background (BMWi 2011a), which in 2009 included approximately 15.7 million people. Approximately three million people in this group had occupational qualifications acquired abroad (BMWi 2011b),[2] but only among roughly 500,000 of these people was their qualification recognized (Kaufmann 2012). Often the educational certificate acquired abroad cannot be put to use in Germany, since the acquired qualifications are either not recognized or the accreditation procedure appears unpromising. This means that many educated foreigners are employed below their level of qualifications, as a result of which valuable potential ("human capital") is wasted and the integration process for the respective individual is made noticeably more difficult. Against this background, in 2011 the German federal government introduced a legislative initiative which led to the passage of the "Act for the Improvement of the Establishment and Recognition of Occupational Qualifications Acquired Abroad" (in short, the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act – BQFG). The BQFG, which the Bundesrat approved on November 4, 2011, and which went into effect on April 1, 2012, is aimed at making the practice of accrediting qualifications acquired abroad more uniform, transparent and effective and thus enabling better integration of the holders of such qualifications into the German labor market.

Structure of the Policy Brief

Published on the occasion of the coming-into-effect of this act, the present policy brief is devoted to the subject of the accreditation in Germany of educational certificates acquired abroad. In the following, first an overview is provided of the previous regulations on the accreditation of certificates acquired abroad and specific problems are addressed which have emerged from the previous practice of accreditation. In this context it should be made clear why a legal basis for recognizing qualifications acquired abroad seemed absolutely essential. Then the BQFG is presented in detail before a critical look is taken at the new regulations that have been introduced as part of this act: Does the law really represent a suitable method for solving the problems of previous accreditation practice and making it more effective? Or does the BQFG fall short of acquiring, as planned, skilled workers and of enabling more people to obtain recognition of their qualifications acquired abroad? Are there, parallel with the law, efforts underway to change the accreditation system itself? On these and other related issues the present policy brief offers an overview.

This text is part of the policy brief on "Procedures for the Assessment of Qualifications Acquired Abroad in Transition".


1. Activation and safeguarding of employment, 2. Better compatibility of family and employment, 3. Educational opportunities for all from the start, 4. Qualification: education/training and continuing education, 5. Integration and the immigration of qualified persons (BMAS 2011).
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) states in another study that six million people of immigrant background have an occupational qualification acquired abroad. This dossier makes use, however, of the oft-cited figure of three million people (BMWi 2010: 3).
Creative Commons License

Dieser Text ist unter der Creative Commons Lizenz "CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE - Namensnennung - Nicht-kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 3.0 Deutschland" veröffentlicht. Autor/-in: Daria Braun für bpb.de

Sie dürfen den Text unter Nennung der Lizenz CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DE und des/der Autors/-in teilen.
Urheberrechtliche Angaben zu Bildern / Grafiken / Videos finden sich direkt bei den Abbildungen.



Länderprofile Migration: Daten - Geschichte - Politik

Ein Länderprofil enthält Informationen über Zuwanderung, Flucht und Asyl sowie Integration in einem bestimmten Land. Diese Informationen bestehen aus: Daten und Statistiken, Geschichtlichen Entwicklungen, Rechtlichen und politischen Maßnahmen, Aktuellen Debatten in den Ländern.

Mehr lesen


Zahlen zu Asyl in Deutschland

Wie viele Menschen suchen in Deutschland Asyl? Woher kommen sie? Wie viele Asylanträge sind erfolgreich? Und wie viele Menschen werden abgeschoben? Wir stellen die wichtigsten Zahlen zum Thema Asyl und Flucht monatlich aktualisiert in einfachen Infografiken dar.

Mehr lesen