Working in Germany?! - What foreign doctors, pharmacists, nurses & Co. should know

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Do you come from abroad and would like to work as a doctor, dentist or pharmacist in Germany? Or do you have a graduate degree as a physiotherapist, MTA/MRTA or nurse abroad and are now thinking about a job offer in Germany?

The "Approbation" - the German work permit

Although there is a high need for medical and nursing staff in Germany: for foreign specialists it is often difficult to obtain the required work permit. The reason: Many professions in health care require a special state license, the so-called Approbation. Without this, nobody in Germany is allowed to work on patients.

Therefore it is not sufficient,

  • to have a foreign medical/nursing graduate degree,
  • to have a foreign work permit as a doctor, nurse, etc.,
  • or to have foreign working experience in a medical/nursing job.

No matter, if you like to work in a hospital or want to establish your own practice: you will absolutely need the German Approbation. Under certain circumstances, it may also be useful or necessary to start your medical or nursing activity with a so-called Erlaubnis. The Erlaubnis is a temporary work permit that is only valid for one federal state.

A complex procedure...

The Approbationsbehörde (= public authority) is responsible for issuing the Approbation as part of the Anerkennungsverfahren. For your license application you must fullfill certain criteria. Especially the following points are important:

1. Successful completion of the Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung (especially Eignungsprüfung or Kenntnisprüfung)

2. Evidence of health suitability (medical certificates, vaccination certificates, etc.)

3. Proof of personal suitability (e.g. certificate of good conduct)

4. Proof of sufficient knowledge of German

The German Anerkennungsverfahren is definitely very complex and time-consuming. The process is often delayed by bureaucratic hurdles and legal problems that cannot always be solved immediately. Above all, you should plan enough time for the necessary administrative procedures and the procurement of all necessary documents. Even a single missing proof or a single untranslated or not publicly authenticated document can bring the entire process to a standstill for months. To make matters worse, each federal state regulates the details for training and admission to the medical and nursing professions itself. Even for experts it is difficult to keep track of all the different regulations. You also should not underestimate the requirements for the Anerkennungsverfahren.

...but it is worth doing!

Nevertheless, it is definitely worth to be engaged in all these bureaucratic efforts. Don't give up on your project too quickly. It is obviously that the demand for qualified medical and nursing staff will increase in the next few years. Therefore, foreign specialists will be offered many career opportunities in Germany. Here are some facts:

  • More than 56,100 foreign doctors worked in Germany in 2020.
  • More than 11,000 nurses and more than 5,000 doctors applied for Approbation/working permit in Germany in 2020.
  • More than 7,000 other specialists from health sector (e.g. pharmacists, midwives, MRTA, paramedics) applied Approbation/working permit in Germany in 2020.

In order to go through the Anerkennungsverfahren as quickly as possible, it can also make sense to seek legal advice timely. As long-standing experts in the field of Approbation-law, we are pleased to support you in all phases of your license application. We ensure that ambiguities are quickly cleared and that the authorities communicate with you “on a level playing field”. We also deal intensively with special cases and help you, if there are any problems with the recognition of additional foreign qualifications (e.g. specialist doctor, other specializations). So don't leave your career opportunities to the German authorities, but take action b

 yourself and contact us! We will help you to achieve your purposes quickly and unbureaucratically.

by Dr. Yvonne Schuld LL.M., Rechtsanwältin

*** Update *** Update *** Update ***
November 24th, 2021: The upcoming federal government wants to strengthen the German healthcare system. The recruitment of foreign specialists and the recognition of foreign medical/nursing graduate degrees are to be simplified and accelerated. This is what the coalition agreement between SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP 2021-2025 says:
"We simplify and accelerate the necessary recruitment of foreign specialists and the recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad."

It is not yet clear which specific measures are planned. We will keep you informed here continuously.

Traumjob in Deutschland?! – Was ausländische Ärzte, Apotheker, Pfleger & Co. wissen sollten

Wer eine medizinische oder pflegerische Ausbildung im Ausland absolviert hat und nun in Deutschland arbeiten möchte,  benötigt eine spezielle staatliche Zulassung, die sog. Approbation. Ohne diese Zulassung darf niemand in Deutschland am Patienten tätig werden. Die Approbation wird im Rahmen des sog. Anerkennungsverfahrens erteilt...

Hier zur vollständigen deutschen Textfassung und weiteren Informationen...

Foto(s): unsplash

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