Recognition of qualifications
On the subject of recognition of vocational training and academic qualifications, we must differentiate in two respects. Firstly, a distinction is made on the basis of the applicant’s country of origin, as different rules apply to EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals with regard to the recognition of qualifications compared with third country nationals.
Secondly, different regulations apply depending on the level of qualification involved, e.g. school-leaving certificates (nostrification), vocational training, university and other academic qualifications (nostrification) or admission to a certain profession on completion of a dedicated degree course (e.g. doctors, pharmacists, civil engineers, etc).
For these various forms of recognition, different rules apply and different authorities are responsible.
Nostrification of foreign school qualifications
The Ministry of Education is responsible for recognising foreign school certificates, regardless of the type of school involved. The Ministry checks whether a school leaving certificate obtained abroad corresponds to the Austrian syllabus. Where major differences are found, recognition may be made conditional on passing supplementary examinations. Foreign certificates can be assessed in advance free of charge for compliance with the requirements for Austrian school-leaving certificates. In the course of this you will also be informed about the documents that have to be presented for recognition.
For admission to a course of study, a check is made to verify that a school-leaving certificate obtained abroad is equivalent to the Austrian school-leaving certificate (Matura). This is the responsibility of the university to be attended for the envisaged course of study. In many cases, there are bilateral agreements in place, which considerably speed up the recognition process.
Nostrification of foreign university degrees
University degrees from other EU countries usually do not require individual recognition (nostrification), and Austria also has bilateral agreements with some other countries that guarantee the equivalence of academic degrees. In such cases, the equivalence of the degree submitted is certified in the form of an official notice issued by the Ministry of Education without any further requirements.
In the case of other foreign academic qualifications, nostrification is the responsibility of the university with whose study programme equivalence is desired (e.g. Law Faculty of the University of Innsbruck for the nostrification of a degree in the field of Law). A reason must also be given for the need for nostrification.
If nostrification is not possible or necessary, an appraisal report can be requested (for a fee) to facilitate access to the employment market. This report does not constitute formal recognition with legal effect but certifies the content of the foreign study programme.
For enrolment in a postgraduate study programme in Austria (Master’s, PhD), the degree obtained abroad can be submitted for recognition as an admission requirement by the Austrian university offering the intended programme.
Apart from the institutions that take the actual decisions with regard to the recognition of foreign qualifications, ENIC NARIC-Austria, the National Information Center for Academic Recognition, is the official point of contact for questions regarding the recognition of higher education qualifications (diplomas/degrees) and academic titles.
In addition to the recognition of the relevant university degrees and academic titles, for some occupations professional recognition is also a prerequisite for employment. For EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals, many of the questions involved are covered by specific recognition guidelines (e.g. for pharmacists, architects, lawyers, veterinarians, midwives, etc).
We would be pleased to provide detailed information about the regulations and requirements applicable to your profession.
Recognition of vocational training certificates and qualifications for EEA/EU citizens
In accordance with the principles of freedom of establishment and freedom of movement, EEA/EU citizens and Swiss nationals are entitled to pursue a trade in Austria under the same conditions as Austrian nationals. The legal basis in Austrian law is the EU/EWR-Anerkennungsverordnung (EU/EEA Recognition Ordinance). In addition, there are agreements in place between Austria and Hungary and Germany as well as the region of South Tyrol on the equivalence of final apprenticeship examinations and an agreement with Germany on the equivalence of master craftsman examinations.
Other vocational training qualifications obtained abroad can be recognised upon application as being equivalent to comparable Austrian apprenticeship certificates. The competent authority is the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs. The prerequisite for certification of equivalence is proof of equivalent knowledge and skills with reference to the relevant Austrian apprenticeship regulations. The proportion of time spent on practical training must also be equivalent to that spent in Austria, although practical work experience can also be taken into account. Where knowledge that is specific to Austria is necessary for the pursuit of the trade (e.g. Austrian laws and regulations), the Ministry may require the applicant to sit supplementary examinations.
In view of the complexity of the subject, we recommend a personal consultation. We would be pleased to help you get your qualifications recognised and pursue your trade in the Tyrol!