Boosting the language skills of skilled workers – the BAMF’s vocational language courses

Boosting the language skills of skilled workers – the BAMF’s vocational language courses

The Immigration Act for Skilled Workers (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz – FEG) came into force on 1 March 2020. The Act is intended to facilitate immigration to Germany for qualified skilled workers and people wishing to undergo training from non-European countries. The immigrants are provided with linguistic support in their integration into the labour and training market in Germany by the BAMF’s nationwide regulatory instrument for vocational German language promotion – the vocational German language courses.

What are the vocational language courses?

The vocational language courses are the central vocational language support programme in Germany: More than 690,000 entitlements and obligations to attend vocational language courses were issued between 2016 and 2019. More than 400,000 people attended one or more of over 24,700 vocational language courses during the same period.

The vocational language course scheme, which has been established at nationwide level, is aimed at the following groups

  • immigrants who would like to acquire general vocational language skills,
  • skilled workers who would like to obtain language qualifications specific to their professions, e.g. in the retail trade, trades and crafts sector/industry,
  • individuals who would like to have their foreign qualifications recognised in Germany, and
  • persons interested in or seeking training, as well as those already in training.

The vocational language courses take into account attendees’ different life situations and circumstances (e.g. parent-child courses, courses for the visually impaired, employees, job-seekers, and those looking for training opportunities, etc.), and are offered throughout the country, including in regions with low demand (“regions with low attendee potential”).

New procedures under the Immigration Act for Skilled Workers: Applications from abroad for trainees

The entry into force of the Immigration Act for Skilled Workers on 1 March 2020 opens up access to vocational language courses for a further target group: persons who have already concluded a contract for training within the meaning of section 57 subsection (1) of the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III) and who would like to prepare themselves in terms of language for vocational training prior to commencing training.

This new target group may already apply for participation entitlements to attend a vocational language course when they are still abroad, and thus receive them even before a visa is issued.

The following requirements need to be satisfied in order to apply, in addition to a training contract having been concluded:

  • entry of the training contract in the register of vocational training relationships with the competent body,
  • where such registration is not required (e.g. for nursing professions in accordance with the Act on the Nursing Profession [Pflegeberufegesetz]), a training contract must be concluded with a state or state-recognised training institution,
  • in the case of third-country nationals, it is also necessary for the Federal Employment Agency to have given its approval in accordance with section 39 of the Residence Act (AufenthG) to issue a residence title in accordance with section 16a of the Residence Act, insofar as this is required.

Information on the contents and admission requirements for the vocational language courses can be found under “Further information – Articles – German for professional purposes”.

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