Around 2.9 million people living in Germany have migrant backgrounds and acquired their highest vocational qualification in another country. Often, however, they are unable to find employment matching their qualification. Germany's new law to improve the assessment and recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad aims to contribute to better and more uniform regulation.
The Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (’Recognition Act’), which entered into force on 1 April 2012, introduces a standardised national procedure and criteria for the assessment of foreign professional qualifications - at least for professions that are regulated by federal law. It improves the opportunities for people who gained their qualifications abroad to work in their trained profession. The act also makes Germany a more attractive workplace for international skilled staff.
The debate surrounding the German qualifications framework (DQR) took place in autumn 2011. The German qualifications framework has its origins in the European qualifications framework (EQF) and pursues objectives and purposes which are not merely national. Germany subjected itself to the European process to improve understanding and comparability of qualifications in different countries and thus foster the mobility of citizens. The DQR debate coincided with preparations for the law to improve the assessment and recognition of vocational education and training qualifications acquired abroad. Although the two processes took place completely independently of each other, the correlations are obvious.