International nurses help to improve health care provision in Germany

Qualified professionals from abroad are offered career prospects and nurse shortages are reduced at the same time.

While Germany faces a shortage of nurses, qualified nurses abroad are often unable to find work. A joint project by the German Federal Employment Agency’s International Placement Services (ZAV) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is redressing this imbalance. It recruits well qualified nurses from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines and Tunisia to work in German clinics, hospitals and care facilities.

The initiative is being well received: Some 1,300 nurses have already commenced work in Germany since the programme was launched in 2013. Over 200 institutions in Germany are taking advantage of the placement scheme.

In order to help prepare the individuals accepted by the project for life and work in Germany, GIZ provides them with relevant linguistic and professional training in their countries of origin. This includes language instruction up to advanced level and a four-day nursing course. GIZ also assists project participants with getting professional qualifications acquired in their home countries recognised in Germany. 

GIZ advises and supports the host hospitals and care facilities in regard to matters of integration, culture of welcome, induction training and recognition of foreign qualifications. 
Following their arrival in Germany, GIZ helps the nurses to integrate into their new home and complete the necessary public administrative procedures. Feedback from the nurses has been positive: They feel well integrated and have grown both professionally and personally. 

The partnership is a triple win. Nurses are able to live and work in Germany under fair conditions, often supporting their relatives back home with the money they earn. At the same time, unemployment is reduced in their countries of origin. Finally, hospitals and care facilities in Germany are able to fill their vacancies with qualified staff.