Lejla Tarić and Amila Balagić come from a family of health professionals. Like their mother, they are qualified nurses. However, nursing jobs with good prospects are hard to find in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sisters are taking the plunge and moving overseas – with support from Triple Win. The programme places qualified nurses from six countries in Germany.
Lejla Tarić has been working as a nurse at Heidelberg’s University Hospital for four years now. ‘I have a job I love in the profession I trained for,’ she says. Hospitals in Germany are desperately looking for staff, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lejla’s home country, nurses struggle to find a job with good prospects. After completing her training, Lejla also found herself hunting for work. It was her mother who told her about Triple Win. The programme, run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Employment Agency (BA), has been organising jobs for overseas nurses in Germany for ten years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the participating countries.
‘It was tough but worth it’
Lejla contacted the Triple Win office in the capital, Sarajevo. ‘They assisted me with all of my questions, like what language course I would need to take, and how to have my qualifications recognised – with everything really.’ At the time, the University Hospital in Heidelberg, her future employer, was recruiting staff through the Triple Win programme. Lejla had heard about the hospital, and even travelled to Heidelberg to visit the city. With the help of Triple Win, she eventually applied for the position and got the job. In 2019 she moved to her new home.
Lejla first had to organise her new life in Heidelberg. She needed to find somewhere to stay, register with the authorities, and open a bank account. Luckily her new employer provided support, and Triple Win continued to advise her. Lejla needed to pass the B2 German exam, for instance, before she could have her qualifications recognised. This advanced German exam is the level that everybody must achieve to work in the medical sector in Germany. Her first months in Heidelberg consisted of work, courses, and learning vocabulary. ‘It was tough but worth it,’ says Lejla. After two years in internal medicine, she switched to intensive care. ‘I can develop my career here.’
Lejla’s sister Amila is still at the beginning of this path. She spent three years nursing patients in a cardiology unit in Bosnia. Amila applied to Triple Win in 2022 and already has a job lined up in Heidelberg. ‘At the moment, If I want to advance my career or even just keep up with the latest in medicine, I can only do this as a nurse overseas,’ she says. For her new job in Heidelberg, Amila is also learning about what is different in Germany by taking part in Triple Win’s preparatory services. ‘For example, here in Bosnia nurses work 24-hour shifts. In Germany that would not be allowed under labour law.’ Amila is already studying hard for the German exam she will need to pass. If everything goes according to plan, she will be starting her new job this summer in the cardiology unit of the hospital where her sister Lejla works.
Good feedback for Triple Win
Like Lejla and Amila, around 1,000 nurses from Bosnia and Herzegovina have found jobs in Germany through Triple Win over the last ten years. On the local labour market, opportunities are limited. According to national statistics, some 7,500 nurses were unemployed in December 2021. This situation is a precondition for Triple Win, as the programme only recruits in countries where medical professionals cannot find work. Emir Čomor coordinates Triple Win in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. ‘We cooperate closely with local employment agencies to ensure that we are not recruiting staff who are needed in the country.’ Triple Win therefore complies with the code of conduct of the World Health Organization (WHO). There is still a high level of interest in the programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Čomor. ‘Many participants give our local Facebook page a like or tell us how well they have settled in Germany.’
Triple Win also operates in the Philippines, Tunisia, Indonesia, Jordan and in the southern Indian state of Kerala. In addition, it organises jobs for trainee nurses from Viet Nam. Since 2013, the programme has organised jobs in Germany for more than 6,000 nurses and trainees.
Last update: April 2023