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South Africans in Germany

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Vocational Careers

New Skilled immigration Act – Changes coming in November 2023 and March 2024. The latest information can be found Anerkennung-in-deutschland website  and Make it in Germany website

The highlights for Vocational careers:

New from November 2023

  • For skilled workers with a higher education qualification, the possibilities for immigration to Germany from third countries with an EU Blue Card will be expanded. Salary thresholds, for example, will be significantly lowered, the group of people expanded, the list of professions extended, short and long-term mobility made possible and family reunification facilitated. IT specialists can also obtain an EU Blue Card without a qualification if they have the relevant professional experience.
  • In future, skilled workers with professional or academic training will have an entitlement to a residence permit if all requirements are met. Skilled workers with a completed professional qualification or higher education qualification are permitted to perform any qualified employment activity in the non-regulated sector. Training and employment no longer need to be related. The employment of drivers is also being simplified.

New from March 2024

  • Residence for professional recognition: Those participating in refresher training or a compensation measure in Germany are able to enter Germany for this purpose and in future remain for up to a maximum of three years. The prospective skilled worker can also take up secondary employment of up to 20 hours per week.
  • The new recognition partnership enables individuals from third countries to first enter Germany and then to carry out the entire recognition procedure in Germany. For this, the prospective skilled worker and their employer are required to apply for recognition after entering Germany and to actively engage in the procedure, including the training. Residence is possible initially for one year and can be extended for up to three years.
  • In future, if the competent authority in the recognition procedure suggests a skills analysis, the prospective skilled worker can enter Germany for this purpose and remain for up to six months.
  • In future, individuals with vocational experience can enter Germany for employment in all non-regulated professions. The requirement for this is a completed professional or higher education qualification recognized in the country of training and at least two years of experience in the intended profession. Under certain conditions and as an alternative to a state-recognized qualification, a qualification from a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad is sufficient. Formal recognition of the professional qualification in Germany is not necessaryIT specialists also still do not need a qualification.
  • Other changes relate to, among other things, access to the labour market for care assistants, the settlement permit for foreign skilled workers, simplifying family reunification, and the employment of students and trainees.

New from June 2024

  • In future, individuals from third countries can enter Germany using the new opportunity card for job searching. Professional recognition may play a role in this, as skilled workers with full recognition will receive the opportunity card without any further requirements. Everybody else is required to provide evidence of a completed professional or higher education qualification recognized in the country of training. Alternatively, a qualification from a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad is possible under certain conditions. Either basic German language skills (Level A1 CEFR) or English language skills (Level B2 CEFR) are also required. At least six points must also be achieved under a points system. Points are given, among other things, for the professional qualification, language skills, professional experience, links to Germany and age. Professional recognition can also play a role in this. Skilled workers with partial recognition receive four points.
  • The Western Balkans Regulation for citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia is being extended indefinitely and the quota increased to 50,000 workers per year.

Vocational careers are where you apply hands-on trade school experience in a professional environment. Currently, there is a big demand for skilled craft and tradesmen in the following sectors (according to make it in Germany)

Construction and development, Metal and electrical industry, Wood and plastics industry, Property cleaning trades, Artisanal food production, Healthcare and personal hygiene trades, Clothing, textile, and leather trades, Graphic design trades

Also have a look at the other professions in demand (Nursing, Engineers, IT Specialists, Scientists and Physicians)


Recognition of South African Vocational qualifications

If you completed your vocational training in South Africa, you may need your qualifications to be officially recognised. You can find information on the following websites:

Finding a job in Germany

The make it in Germany website has excellent information about finding a job in Germany.
Other options include

  • Applying directly at companies that are in your line of work, e.g Bosch, Daimler, BMW, Audi, Siemens, Liebherr. Also, consider smaller companies
  • The Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)
  • The Budesagentur für Arbeit or Arbeitsagentur – it the Federal employment agency, they have to approve all foreign job applications and can advise you on what you need for recognition

Vocational training in Germany

You can apply to do your vocational training in Germany. You will need some level of German proficiency, depending on your type of visa
See more on our Vocational training page or the links below

The information about Visas  will be updated as the new changes are implemented


  • If you have a job offer you can apply for an employment visa 
  • Have you applied to have your professional qualifications recognised and the competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany has determined that your qualifications cannot be fully recognised due to missing qualifications? In such cases, you can attend a qualification program in Germany in order to acquire the missing theoretical and/or practical skills. Examples of this would be company training courses, technical training courses, preparatory courses or job-related German language classes.
    To take part in these programs, you require a residence permit for the recognition of foreign qualifications (Section 16d AufenthG (German Residence Act)). More information on make it in Germany
  • Job seekers visa – If you’re having difficulties searching for a job from abroad, you can apply for a residence permit that enables qualified professionals to enter Germany for the purpose of seeking employment in accordance with Section 20 (1) (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act). See more on make it in Germany
  • If you received qualified vocational training, you can receive a residence permit (without the consent of the Federal employment agency) that enables you to obtain employment in Germany as a qualified professional. See sections 18a and 18b of the German Residence Act

One particular option is provided by the Skilled Immigration Act: Under specific conditions, companies are able to apply for an Accelerated procedure for the residence of Skilled workers from third countries. The purpose of this is to shorten the duration of the recognition procedure to two months.

[wpfa5s icon=”fa-hand-o-right”]Tip:  Under certain conditions, you can enter Germany for 6 months after completing your professional training in order to search for a job. You can find out more at visa for jobseekers.

Related content

Recognition of studies

Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to have either your Matric/Grade 12 or South African degree or other qualifications and experience formally recognised

Curriculum Vitae and Resume

It is important to have your CV or Resume in the correct format. In Germany the prefer a Resume for job applications. CV –  a