PuMa - Points-Based Model Project for Foreign Skilled Workers

Preconditions to participate in PuMa

A precondition for the immigration to Germany via the PuMa procedure is that the candidates have completed a formal vocational training and that they have command of the German language. Due to the special importance of the language skills for the integration of employees into the German labour market and into the society in general, this is the central criterion. However, a lack of German language competence can in part be compensated by other integration criteria, for example by a legal previous residence in Germany or relatives living in Germany. But also English or French language skills and a previous residence in another country of the European Union for educational or professional reasons can compensate part of the missing points in the German language section.

A completed vocational training

The first precondition to participate in PuMa is a completed formal vocational training, which is recognised in Germany respectively in the state of Baden-Württemberg. This means it will be officially reviewed whether the qualifications and skills you acquired in your home country match the equivalent German job profile. However, in this context it is important to notice that the German vocational training system places great importance not only in theoretical knowledge but also in learning practical skills. This is different from other countries where often more emphasis is put on theoretical aspects. Therefore in those countries similar occupational profiles are being taught at University, which means those job profiles are often difficult – if not impossible – to translate into the German equivalent job counterparts. However in principle, university degrees in combination with some practical work experience can be recognised in the same way as a vocational training. If you do not have practical work experience you can still get a partial recognition of your vocational training.

Recognition of vocational trainig

A recognition procedure for school, university and vocational degrees is possible. The procedure begins with an application for the assessment of equivalence of a non-German professional qualification. The application is to be submitted to the responsible recognition body. Different institutions are responsible for assessing the equivalence in the different federal states. The costs for the professional recognition procedure must be borne by the candidates themselves. When looking for the responsible body, the “Recognition Finder” is a helpful tool: Those who are interested in having their degrees recognised can search their so-called “reference occupation” in the portal “recognition in Germany”. In the next step, you will find the recognition body. You can get personal support with the Local IQ counselling units. They inform those who are interested and support them step by step during the recognition procedure. Partial recognition of the vocational training: You can get a partial recognition of your vocational training first and can catch up on the missing qualifications in Germany later. In parallel you can already take up a job that is directly linked to your retrograde qualification / adjustment measure. In this case, however, you will need a specific job offer before you enter Germany.

Assessment on the basis of points:

The main criteria of the points assessment is the level of proficiency of the German language. Thus a candidate with a B2 level of German will get the full score of points. However it is also possible to participate in PuMa with a lower level of German proficiency, if you can compensate your lack of German proficiency with other so-called integration criteria. For example if you had a previous residence in Germany or if you have relatives that are living in Baden-Württemberg you will also get a B1 level of German proficiency approved. Also longer periods of time spend in another European country for proven educational or occupational purposes as well as knowledge of English and French can add additional points.

How exactly the required 100 points can be reached and how those different integration criteria can be combined with your German skills is shown in the table below.

For the following integration criteria, skilled workers can earn points:

Knowledge of German:

  • Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): 100 points
  • Level B1 of the CEFR: 50 points
  • Level A2 of the CEFR: 25 points

Other integration criteria (as a compensation for missing points in case of a language level lower than B2):

  • Well-integrated relatives (second-grade or closer) in Baden-Wuerttemberg: 50 points
  • Previous residence in Germany (at least 12 months, but can be divided in a maximum of three stays): 50 points
  • Residence in another member state of the European Union for educational or professional reasons (at least six months, can be divided in a maximum of two stays): 25 points
  • Advanced knowledge in English and French (level B1 of the CEFR): 25 points

A modular system applies: At least 25 points must be achieved by the knowledge of the German language. If the language level is lower than A2, access to the labour market is impossible. Any combination is possible for the other criteria (grey in Fig. 1) in order to achieve the required total number of points.