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Germany — Government decides to simplify the official recognition of foreign qualifications

11 December 2009

Many non-European Union foreigners who work in Germany are not able to operate in their area of qualification because their degrees or vocational training certificates acquired outside Germany are not officially recognised.

Currently, only European Union citizens find it easy to have their qualifications recognised but even this does not apply to all professions and since education is dealt with at federal state level there are considerable differences from one federal state to the next.

The government has now decided to simplify this process, Focus reports. Annette Schavan, Minister for Education, said "we are going to create the legal basis for all professional qualifications acquired outside Germany to be recognised. This will enable foreign professionals and vocationally trained individuals to work in their fields of specialisation in Germany."

The demographic development of Germany is such that there will be all sorts of skills shortages in the country in the near future. The Minister said further "it cannot be that we have many qualified people living in this country who are not able to work at their level of qualification simply because they were educated or trained in other countries."

However, the Minister also pointed out that the new simplified system for the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad must not water down the level of qualifications acquired in Germany.

Maria Boehmer, Government Official for Integration, said "the [simplified] recognition of foreign qualifications will create a win-win situation for all concerned. Foreign professionals will no longer have to work at levels, which are below their qualification and the country will benefit from their skills."

Boehmer has appealed to both the central and the state governments to proceed quickly towards ratification of the new legislation. She went on to say "we can no longer afford to waste Human Resources the way we have done in the past."



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