Attracting personnel from Viet Nam to train as nurses

Project description

Title: Pilot project aimed at attracting personnel from Viet Nam to train as nurses in Germany
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Country: Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA)
Term: 2016 to 2019


There is a serious shortage of skilled labour in the nursing care sector in Germany, with demographic trends already having made the problem acute. A study has found that over 200,000 additional nursing staff will be required to care for the elderly alone by 2030, and almost half of these carers will be geriatric nurses (study by the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (RWI) and the Institut für Europäische Gesundheits- und Sozialwirtschaft (IEGUS), 2015).

Ensuring a good level of care is one of the most important socio-political tasks facing Germany. In the medium to long term, however, this need cannot be met by nurses domestically or by workers from European Union (EU) Member States. Recruiting care staff from countries outside Europe will soon be of major importance not just for Germany, but also for many other countries with similar demographic patterns.

With its very young population, Viet Nam’s potential workforce is suitably large. The Vietnamese Government explicitly supports the labour mobility of health sector workers and is aware of the advantages of gaining professional experience abroad, such as the transfer of know-how, and migrant remittances to their country of origin.

In order to manage this migration in a sustainable manner, a structured approach is required when recruiting care staff from third countries. As well as meeting Germany’s needs for trained workers, the well-being of the migrants themselves and the interests of their countries of origin – such as the strengthening of their health sectors and the gaining of expertise – also have to be taken into account.


Companies and other institutions in the health care and nursing sector attract skilled nursing staff from Viet Nam fairly and sustainably. Standards have been defined and implemented so that everybody benefits – the staff, their country of origin and their destination country.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been organising placements in Germany for nursing care trainees from Viet Nam since 2013. It is working on this project with the International Placement Services of the German Federal Employment Agency and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in Viet Nam. This pilot project tests ways of attracting skilled nursing staff from Viet Nam fairly so that everybody benefits – the staff, their country of origin and their destination country. 

In order for the project to be successful, it is important that the trainees from Viet Nam are sufficiently prepared for living and working in Germany. Before leaving Viet Nam, they therefore take part in a state-funded training programme organised in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in Hanoi. As part of this programme, which runs for 13 months, participants acquire German language skills (including specialist terminology), receive intercultural training and attend practical preparation sessions on working as a nurse in Germany. After passing the language examination, the participants are trained in Germany and, in their first year, receive support with integration.


Between the launch of the project and the beginning of 2019, the pilot project successfully found placements in Germany for more than 300 trainee nurses and geriatric nurses from Viet Nam. 195 participants have completed their training and are now working in Germany as fully fledged nurses and geriatric nurses, while a further 125 participants are still in training.

These results confirm the standards that the pilot project has developed for successfully attracting nursing staff from Viet Nam. They show that the measures – including preparing the nurses for living and working in Germany before they leave Viet Nam and offering one-to-one support in their first year in Germany – really work. This provides the nursing sector in Germany with an example of how skilled nursing staff from Viet Nam can be recruited fairly and sustainably, so that everybody benefits.

Additional information