Financial Support for the Costs of Professional Recognition Procedures – a New Stepping Stone within the German Recognition Act

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Rosemarie SACKMANN, Forschungsinstitut Betriebliche Bildung, Germany
The German labor market is highly regulated. Beside occupations with legally regulated access large parts of the labor are structured by the system of professional education with its strong emphasis on accredited vocational certificates. Within this culture migrants need the recognition of their professional qualifications. Thus, professional recognition is considered desirable for individuals (who can find better jobs with better payment), for companies (who can appreciate the qualifications of foreign applicants), and for the society as whole (because it fosters social integration).

In 2012 the German Recognition Act set the basis for the development of an encompassing support infrastructure for professional recognition procedures. Everyone holding a foreign formal vocational qualification has the right to get his/her qualifications accessed. The Recognition Act has been a success right from its beginning. However, Monitoring reports on the Recognition Act have shown that overall costs of recognition and a lack of financing opportunities may be a severe hindrance for recognition seekers. Particularly persons who work (below their level of qualification) to earn a living, often via casual jobs or other poorly paid employment, are in a problematic situation: In many such cases, their financial means are insufficient to pay for a procedure and all its associated costs, but as long as they earn a living, they can’t apply for social funding.

In December 2016, a new instrument has been added to the Recognition Act: the recognition grant. The presentation offers a brief overview of the instruments of the Recognition Act, it describes the implementation of the new instrument and it reports on an evaluation which answers the question, if this instrument works. First findings (September 2017) show: It works to a remarkable degree.