Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Admission to the labour market by group

Non-academic qualified professionals from abroad:

Does your new recruit have a non-academic vocational qualification obtained outside Germany? If so, he or she will be able to work in Germany on the strength of their foreign qualification if the following requirements are met:

  • There is a shortage of qualified staff for the occupation they wish to exercise in Germany. You can see which occupations are concerned from the Federal Employment Agency’s whitelist.
  • You have offered your potential recruit an actual job.
  • Their qualification must be recognised as being equivalent to a German qualification. New recruits must apply for recognition while still in their country of origin. You will find more information about this in the “Acknowledgement and recognition of qualifications” section.

Nationals of third countries and adaptation measures for recognition of qualifications:

If the respective authority in charge of recognising qualifications concludes that further training is required before full recognition can be granted, recruits may, pursuant to Section 17a (1) of the Residence Act, receive a permit allowing them to reside for up to 18 months in Germany. For example, further training might consist of a period of work within a company, or a language course. During this time, the new recruit can take up employment in line with their professional profile without any time restrictions.

You can find further information on adaptation measures to gain admission to the labour market for nationals of third countries from the fact sheet “Beschäftigung von drittstaatsangehörigen Ausländerinnen und Ausländern im Anerkennungsverfahren nach § 17a Aufenthaltsgesetz” (“Employment of foreigners from third states in the recognition procedure pursuant to Section 17a of the Residence Act”) issued by the Federal Employment Agency.

Intra-corporate transfer (ICT Card)

Do you want to transfer qualified professionals to a German host entity which belongs to your undertaking or groups of undertakings established in a Third country?

The EU Directive on intra-corporate transfers (ICT), which has been introduced in The German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) in 2017 regulates the entering and residence conditions attached to the intra-corporate transfer of employees. The ICT Directive is aimed at undertakings that intend to temporarily transfer workers to their German host entity.

The ICT Card is a new residence title for third-country nationals who are already in possession of a residence title. The ICT Card will permit managers, specialists or trainee employees to take up an employment at a German host entity for a specific period. Applying for an ICT Card is subject to certain conditions. On the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees you can find more about the conditions which apply.

Managers and specialist may be entitled with a Residence permit valid for 3 years, and for trainee employees the duration is limited to a maximum of 1 year. You will find more information on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

Nursing and care professionals from abroad:

If you wish to recruit a nursing or care professional from abroad, you should first of all make precise enquiries to decide in which country to recruit. As nursing and care requires an academic qualification in many countries unlike in Germany, the issue of recognition is important here.

In the Triple Win project, the International and Specialised Services in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation finds work placements for nursing and care workers from the partner countries of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Philippines in nursing or geriatric institutions in Germany. Both the employers and employees are guided throughout the entire migration process. You can find more information on the Triple Win website.

You can find further information about the current legal requirements for access to the labour market for foreign skilled workers in Germany on the portal of the International and Specialised Services (ZAV).

Tip:The Federal Employment Agency’s “Migration Check” provides a first indication of whether your new recruit requires a work permit and whether or not this can be granted. Click here to go to the Migration Check.

Information on the internet

Federal Employment Agency (BA)

Information on admission to the labour market (German, English)

Migration Check: find out whether your applicant requires a work permit (German)

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