Germany ‘needs 250,000 nurses’

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Opportunities in Germany. Care.com Europe founder and CEO Steffen Zoller, shown with Euro Language Center administrator Alna Lechner, talks about opportunities for Filipino nurses in Germany. (Contributed Foto)


ABOUT 250,000 nurses are needed in Germany in the next five years but Filipino nurses could miss the opportunity without the participation of recruitment agencies, an official said.

That is according to health care matching company Care.com Europe founder and chief executive officer Steffen Zoller in his visit to Cebu on Saturday.

Recruitment agencies are barred from deploying workers to Germany.

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“The POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) does not allow recruitment agency in the Philippines to recruit Filipino nurses to Germany. But employers in Germany can do direct hiring (from the Philippines),” Zoller told reporters Saturday.

Filipino medical professionals were previously banned from employment in Germany, in accordance with German laws.

However, in March 2013, the Federal Republic of Germany opened its doors to Filipino medical professionals, most especially nurses, when it entered into a bilateral agreement with the Philippines for a government-to-government placement system for Filipino workers’ temporary employment in Germany. The latter is eyeing to accommodate at least 500 Filipino nurses in 2015. But Zoller said, only 31 Filipino nurses have been brought to Germany up to this time.

The official said the high demand for nurses and health care workers in Germany is caused by the country’s ageing population, fewer workers in the health sector, and the building of more hospitals. Registered nurses in Germany are paid $2,500 on average or roughly P100,000 per month. Chinese nurses are presently filling the country’s needs.

Zoller said he wants to help Filipinos, especially nurses, find jobs in Germany but the present setup does not allow the intervention of recruitment agencies. There are some agencies, he said, that promise Filipinos nursing jobs in Germany but he reminded the public that doing so is illegal.

He said employment in Germany for Filipinos can only be done by the government, and private employers in Germany who can choose to directly hire employees from the Philippines.

To get directly hired, Zoller said he can assist Filipino nurses find jobs by referring qualified Filipinos to his network of 5,000 employers in Germany, mainly hospitals and senior care facilities. In demand jobs in the country also include engineers and IT professionals.

“We will help the employers directly hire their people,” Zoller said.

But before doing so, applicants must have at least two years of working experience and should be familiar with German. He said Germany requires a B2 level language certification for a foreigner to be allowed to work in the country.

To assist interested Filipino applicants, Zoller has partnered with Euro Language Center in Tisa, Cebu City to teach them German.

Euro Language offers a B2 level German language education. Alna Lechner, the school’s administrator, said it will take around 10 months to complete the B2 level, if taken three hours daily.

“There is no guarantee for employment in Germany,” Zoller said, clarifying that his company is only referring and not recruiting.

However, proficiency in the German language is an edge and will make them more qualified than others.

If ever the present employment system changes and POEA would allow the intervention of recruitment agencies, Zoller said they can start to operate as an agency. There will be no placement fee, he added, because it will be shouldered by the employer instead of the employee.

However, he warned that if this could happen, others may resort to scam and cautioned the public to be mindful of agencies they are dealing with.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 30, 2015.

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