Recognition of regulated professions is based on Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA). It applies to citizens of Member States or Contracting States and is to be applied if practicing a profession is regulated in Germany. This Directive as well as its preceding directives were transposed into German national law.
Recognition of professional qualifications from Switzerland is guaranteed since June 2002 by the “Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons”.
In certain professions, qualifications are recognised automatically upon request. This means that recognition is granted without examining the individual training contents, provided that it is a qualification listed in the Annex to the Directive for the individual Member State or Contracting State. This applies to:
Member States and Contracting States have agreed on certain minimum standards for training to enable automatic recognition of the professions mentioned above. This ensures that training in the individual countries is largely the same and learning results are comparable.
When other regulated professions than the above mentioned are to be recognised, training content and - if applicable - work experience are assessed. According to Directive 2005/36/EC, a qualification is to be recognised if the holder is directly entitled to practice the profession in their country of origin without further training or examinations. The professional profile has to correspond to the profession they wish to practice in Germany.
If training is comparable and there are no significant differences, the qualification may be recognised directly. In case there are significant differences between training abroad and in Germany, additional requirements may be imposed. These may be an adaption course or an exam, depending on the choice of the applicant. Sufficient work experience that compensates for significant differences may replace such a course or exam. In professions, where thorough knowledge of the legal system is essential, an exam is mandatory. This is codified in legislation at Länder level and approved by the European Commission. For example, an exam is mandatory for lawyers, patent agents, accountants, auditors and tax consultants.
The Directive 2005/36/EC applies to all EU and EEA countries. Every country maintains an information centre that provides information about training and professional qualifications in its own country in accordance with the Directive. Normally this is the role of the NARICs.
As German NARIC, the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) was appointed the national information centre for the implementation of Directive 2005/36/EC by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. It informs holders of German qualifications about recognition procedures in other EU / EEA states and provides information to foreign information centres on German training courses and corresponding vocational entitlements.
The ZAB informs nationals of Member States / Contracting States who have obtained a professional qualification in one of these states that is regulated in Germany about the recognition procedure and responsible authorities in Germany.
The ZAB provides German recognition authorities with recommendations for recognition on the basis of Directive 2005/36/EC.
Recognition based on Directive 2005/36/EC requires:
- Citizenship of a Member State or Contracting State,
- Direct entitlement to practice the profession in the country of origin,
- Acquisition of the qualification predominantly in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland,
- Professional entitlements in the country of origin comparable to those in Germany.