Recognition of a foreign educational credential refers to the confirmation of its value, which may be needed for various professional and academic purposes. For example, it may be desirable for working in a regulated or non-regulated profession, or to improve opportunities for a professional start and future career. Recognition may also be required to gain access to further education opportunities at school, work or in academia.
The recognition of a foreign qualification thus encourages not only labour market integration and academic mobility. It also helps securing skilled employees.
The legal bases for professional recognition are the recognition laws of the federal state and the Laender as well as special laws and the EU Directive 2005/36/EG on the recognition of professional qualifications. Academic recognition is based on the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region of 22 May 2007 (the so-called ‘Lisbon Recognition Convention’), bilateral state agreements on equivalence in higher education (equivalency agreements), the higher education laws of the Laender and the study and examination regulations of higher education institutions.
According to the professional and academic legal bases, the practice of recognition shall be characterised by mutual trust in the quality of a foreign qualification. Recognition may only be denied in case of significant differences. These differences exist if job-specific competences and skills acquired abroad differ significantly from competences and skills needed for the corresponding German profession or if proper professional practice would not be possible without certain competences.
In the academic sector a significant difference can be asserted if continuing one’s studies or academic success in Germany is at risk.