BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Learning German - German for professional purposes

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German for professional purposes

A good level of spoken and written German is necessary to find work and for you to be successful in your career. This is why special courses are offered in which you can learn German for professional purposes.

As part of its ESF-BAMF programme, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) offers courses in "German for professional purposes" free of charge to people with a migration background. The courses combine German lessons, professional skill-building and the option of finding out more about a trade or profession through work placements.

Who may attend?

If you take part in the programme, which is promoted by the ESF, you can obtain additional language and subject-based qualifications, thus improving your chances on the labour market. Participation is contingent on several preconditions:

  • You do not currently have an adequate knowledge of German to find a job.
  • You must have a migration background. Your nationality and date of immigration are not important. Ethnic German repatriates, persons born in Germany, foreign families and those holding a German passport (Passdeutsche) are entitled to apply.
  • You must be registered as looking for work and (as a rule) be receiving benefits in accordance with Book II of the Social Code (SGB II - Hartz IV) or Book III of the Social Code (unemployment benefit).
  • You must have already completed an integration course and/or already have adequate German language skills, and
  • You must have fulfilled your mandatory schooling requirement.

Participants of the Federation's "ESF Integration Guideline - Federation" or "ESF-Federation Programme for Persons Permitted to Remain and Refugees II" programmes may also take part in ESF-BAMF courses.

They may also attend a language course if they are in employment and

  • do not yet have sufficient command of the language to cope with their (future) everyday work situations.
  • They must also have a migration background in such cases. However, they are obliged to make a contribution of 3.20 Euro per lesson towards the costs. The employer may also pay the cost contribution.

This is fundamentally contingent for on all prospective students having attained language level A1 within the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Content and timing

German lessons

In the German lessons you will learn the vocabulary, grammar and expressions that you will need to make yourself understood competently among colleagues, customers and superiors. In addition, you will also learn to understand more complicated texts, and what you must take into consieration for example when writing e-mails and letters. The German lessons will also teach you general workplace language skills.


The skill-building part of the course supplements the German lessons and usually consists of the following components:

• technical instruction,
• work placement, and
• site visits.

The three components of the skill-building section of the course are designed around what you already know and the additional knowledge that you would like to acquire. In the technical lessons this might include:

• general and specialised career-related knowledge,
• job application training, and
• mathematics and IT.

It is however also possible to attend courses with a specific subject orientation, such as in the commercial or care fields.

You can apply and expand your theoretical knowledge in the practical component.

Including the German-language lessons, the skill-building module and the work placement, the course can comprise up to 730 lesson units (six months or 12 months in the case of part-time courses).

Your instructor will keep a regular record of the progress you are making, and will evaluate it together with you at the end of the course. The course will conclude with you being awarded a certificate of attendance, which can be highly useful to you in your future career.

display as attention: Note

To achieve your goals on the course, it is important to attend lessons regularly and to arrive punctually. In addition, you should take an active part in the course.

Applying for the course

If you receive unemployment benefit I (Arbeitlosengeld I) or unemployment benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) or if you are registered as a job-seeker, the Employment Agency or job centre staff (in "opt-out" authorities) will be pleased to assist. They know which courses are offered at language schools and can put your name forward for one of these courses.

If you are already in work, you can approach your employer who will receive further information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

What happens next?

The language school will start by checking:

  • how well you already speak German,
  • your professional qualifications, and
  • what you need to learn on the course.

The results will show which course is best for you. The length of the course will depend on how much you wish to learn on the course.

Your progress will be monitored regularly during the course. The language school will determine at the end of the course whether you have achieved your goals.

display as address: Information available locally

You can obtain further information in your area from:

  • the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants and the Youth Advisory Service,
  • immigration authorities,
  • the employment agency, job centre or relevant local authority institution, and
  • integration course providers.
Date 17 December 2015

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