When everyone’s a winner

In the Triple Win project, GIZ and the Federal Employment Agency’s (BA) International Placement Services (ZAV), via the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM), are breaking new ground to recruit nurses from countries outside the European Union for the German labour market. This benefits health care facilities in Germany, the nurses themselves and their countries of origin.

Germany is experiencing a widespread shortage of nurses. In contrast, in the Triple Win project partner countries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Philippines, the unemployment rate among nurses is high. As a result, we were able to recruit qualified nurses from these three countries for work assignments in Germany in 2013. In 2015, 300 have already taken up positions in Germany, and more than 250 are completing their training in their home countries.

Meticulous planning

For the selection of partner countries, the project has followed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Health Personnel. The code regulates the placement, selection and exit processes and avoids brain drain. The procedures are coordinated with the agencies in the nurses’ countries of origin.

In most cases, the nurses learn about the Triple Win project from their local employment agencies. They submit their application materials and participate in selection interviews on their training and employment experience, as well as on their personal background and motivation. German skills also play an important role. The project then places the selected nurses at German hospitals with vacancies.

When candidates decide to take the step to migrate to Germany for work, GIZ and the employers in Germany support them with immigration procedures and help them settle in. Prior to departure, the nurses undergo language and nursing-related training to prepare for their work and their life in Germany.

Within the first months in Germany, they work during the official recognition process of their vocational credentials in the country.

Good experience

During the pilot project, around 80 nurses from Bosnia and Herzegovina came to Germany. Their experience was positive; the nurses reported that they had become integrated and that they had continued their development, both professionally and personally. The employers are also very satisfied.

Placing the nurses in vacant jobs in Germany relieves the labour market in their countries of origin, which offer only limited job prospects for young people. This creates a win-win-win situation.

After the nurses have completed their assignment in Germany, they may return to their countries of origin, or if they continue working as nurses, they may extend their stay in Germany. They are ideally prepared for both options. Some nurses plan to return at some point in order to help improve the nursing situation in the hospitals of their countries of origin.

The project is a model for other initiatives, including a project GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office (AA). As part of this project, 100 young engineers from Tunisia without job prospects are obtaining the opportunity of temporary employment in Germany.