Attracting qualified nurses to Germany: Federal Employment Agency and GIZ recruit one-thousandth nurse from partner countries

Triple Win gains recognition as model of best practice

For the last four years or so, the Federal Employment Agency and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have been actively recruiting nurses fromBosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines and Serbia for the German labour market under the Triple Win programme. In March, Tunisia became the fourth partner country. The goal of the programme is to recruit and prepare nurses and help them integrate into their new workplace. This includes arranging for the qualifications they gained in their home country to be recognised in Germany.

The one-thousandth nurse recruited under the programme received a warm welcome in Munich on 31 July. Jannette Dela Cruz comes from the Philippines and is a qualified nurse. After completing a German language course and cultural preparation, she will start work at a nursing home for the elderly run by the Munich branch of the Caritas Association.

The countries taking part in the Triple Win programme all have a surplus of well-qualified nurses. Consequently, many of them are unable to put their skills to proper use in their home country. ‘By contrast, there is a growing demand for qualified nurses to look after the elderly and sick in Germany,’ explains Raimund Becker, Regions Director on the Federal Employment Agency’s Executive Board. ‘This is partly a result of demographic change. Naturally, we make every effort to recruit staff in Germany, too, and we encourage young people to take up careers in the nursing sector. However, we also need care workers from abroad, and we want to offer them good long-term prospects.’

The programme therefore creates benefits all round, i.e. a ‘triple win’:

  • It helps to meet the demand for skilled care workers in Germany.
  • It eases the pressure on labour markets in the partner countries, where there are not enough jobs to match the level of supply. Those countries also benefit from the remittances of nurses working in Germany.
  • Finally, those recruited benefit from a new career opportunity in Germany.

‘Our top priority is to ensure that labour migration is fair and sustainable,’ stresses Maja Bernhardt, Head of the Triple Win Project at GIZ. ‘Triple Win helps us to meet both labour market and development policy objectives. It facilitates safe and responsible migration and provides benefits for our partner countries while addressing the shortage of skilled workers in the care sector in Germany. The programme centres on the nurses. We give them a lot of support during their preparation time in the partner country and after they arrive in Germany. We also help them with the long-term process of integration.’

Migration can only be regarded as successful if those who move to a new country integrate not just into the labour market but also into society. Language and preparation courses are held in each of the programme’s partner countries to ensure that those who come to Germany feel at ease in their new linguistic, cultural and working environment. This support continues on arrival until the new recruits gain full recognition of their qualifications. Employers also benefit from this approach, since the individual language and work-related preparation and the measures in place to help migrants integrate mean that their new staff are fully primed and qualified to start work.

Doris Schneider, Caritas’ Diocesan Director of Nursing Homes, can confirm this: ‘For us, the Triple Win programme is an excellent way of recruiting motivated staff who receive preparation for their new role before they come over to Germany. The complex process of dealing with the authorities in both countries is made a lot easier for us by the programme team and we can benefit from the broad experience available.’ To date, the local Caritas association has taken on 33 foreign nurses through Triple Win.

GIZ and the Federal Employment Agency offer a comprehensive package of services for German employers through the programme. These range from the selection of suitable candidates, language training in the home country and help with formalities such as visa applications through to dealing with recognition procedures in Germany and ongoing support during the integration period. The overall process is lengthy and time-consuming.

After four years, the programme is now well established and is generating more and more interest in the care sector. More recently, it has attracted some new partners in the form of well-known organisations such as the German Hospital Federation (DKG).

Triple Win has also gained recognition at international level. It has been commended as best practice by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the International Trade Union Confederation (PSI). Furthermore, the ‘Report of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth’ published by the UN examines the partnership between Germany and the Philippines in the Triple Win programme and again praises it as an example of best practice.

Employers with an interest in the programme can join at any time. For the latest information, background material and first-hand reports both from employers and recruits, see: www.triple-win-pflegekraefte.de (German only).

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