Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Germany needs nurses

The nursing profession is future-proof

Thanks to the excellent living conditions in Germany, a large proportion of the population enjoys good health into old age. However, with increased life expectancy and an aging society, combined with the decreasing number of young people beginning their working lives, the demand for professional nursing care as well as basic medical care is rising. While Germany does have a stable healthcare system, nursing professionals are nevertheless in high demand and more important than ever. Hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities are always in search of nursing personnel with various levels of qualifications in order to meet the increasing demand in the healthcare and nursing professions. And this demand is predicted to continue growing in the coming years. Would you like to become part of Germany’s stable healthcare system? Then find out here how to start your future-proof career in the nursing sector! 

Tasks in the nursing field

As a nurse, you will take care of and support people in every phase of their lives. Fields include:

  • Patient care
  • Paediatric nursing (children’s nursing)
  • Geriatric nursing (care of the elderly)

Your tasks in the nursing field will include independent observation, guidance, support and care of patients, both in-patients and out-patients. Additionally, depending on your specialisation and qualifications, you may also document and evaluate nursing measures, as well as carry out medical instructions and assist with medical interventions. As a member of nursing personnel, you also represent a competent point of contact for members of the patient’s family.

Figures on nurses in Germany

1,7 million

People are employed in nursing, including geriatric nursing.

Over 40,000

Job positions in care facilities are vacant.

Entry requirements for international nursing professionals

Those wishing to work on a long-term basis in the nursing profession in Germany require official authorisation to practise their profession. As a rule, the following formal requirements must be met in order to be permitted to work in the nursing profession in Germany:

  • Recognised qualification: The nursing qualification obtained in your country of origin must be recognised in Germany. To this end, the authority responsible for your case will check whether your professional qualification is equivalent to German qualifications. If this is not the case, you can take an assessment test or a conversion course, in order to prove an equivalent level of knowledge. The application for professional recognition can be submitted to the responsible authority in the state in which you intend to work. The German professional recognition obtained is valid nationwide.
  • Sufficient knowledge of German: Depending on the state, you will need to have a German level equivalent to the B2 or B1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • Appropriate state of health: You must prove through certification by a German doctor that you are physically and mentally healthy, and are therefore suitable for a job in the nursing profession.
  • Personal suitability/Trustworthiness: In order to prove your trustworthiness, you will require proof that you do not have a criminal record. Depending on your situation, you can prove this with a certificate of good conduct from your country of origin or with a German certificate of conduct (Führungszeugnis). 

For the recognition of your qualification, the decisive factor is not your nationality but where your qualification was obtained. You can find more information regarding recognition, examinations, conversion courses and the German authorities responsible on the multilingual Recognition in Germany portal.

Do I need a visa?

As a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you do not require a visa or a residence permit in order to work in Germany. Citizens of other countries on the other hand require a residence permit. You can find out more about the work visa for qualified professionals in the Visa section.

Have you applied for recognition of your professional qualification and the certification authority in Germany has determined that you require further qualifications for full recognition? Then you can find out whether the visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications is a possibility for you.

Tip: Under certain conditions, you can also enter Germany for 6 months after completing your professional training in order to search for a job. You can find out more at Visa for jobseekers.

Next steps

✔ Your career prospects: With our Quick-Check, you can find out about the opportunities available to you for working and living in Germany.

✔ Begin the recognition process: In our Recognition section, you can find out all about the recognition of foreign qualifications.

✔ Apply now: Find a suitable position in our “Make it in Germany” Job listings and use our tips for a successful job application in Germany.

✔ German language: Get useful tips on the best places and methods to learn German in the Learning German section!

Good to know:

There are a number of interesting projects offering special opportunities to work in Germany as nursing professional from abroad:

Triple Win Project
The Triple Win Project is implemented jointly by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the GIZ with the aim of attracting foreign nursing professionals to the German labour market. The basis of the scheme is formed by placement agreements between the BA and the employment authorities of the partner countries, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Philippines and Tunisia. The partner authority organises the application procedure locally and checks applications according to formal criteria. The BA determines the applicants’ personal, professional and language qualifications in individual selection interviews. A language test is part of the selection process. In particular, the GIZ offers language qualifications for nursing professionals (level B1 of the Common European Reference Framework with technical language for nursing personnel), professional preparation for working in Germany as well as facilitating integration and support with the recognition process after arrival in Germany. Until their foreign qualification in the field of nursing and patient care has been recognised, which should take place within the first year of employment, the nursing professionals work as medical orderlies. 

"Nursing in Germany" Project
A programme of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) for nursing professionals from Mexico 
The Federal Employment Agency (BA), together with the Mexican National Employment Office is looking for qualified healthcare and nursing personnel from Mexico for healthcare companies in Germany. 
The Nursing in Germany Project gives interested nursing professionals from Mexico opportunities for new career prospects. At various locations and events in Mexico, German employers from the healthcare sector present their job opportunities. 

Those wishing to take part in the project should be mobile, interested in working abroad and be prepared to gain the relevant skills in the German language in 12 months. An academic qualification from a Mexican university is also required. On their road to Germany, the nurses receive diverse forms of support – for example, financing of language courses in Mexico and Germany and guidance applying for a visa and for the recognition of professional qualifications. 

How can I take part in the project? What is specifically offered by the project? Who can I ask if I have questions? Find out more about the Nursing in Germany Project of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and the Mexican employment authority here.

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