A carer and a patient in an elderly care center | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/O.Berg
A carer and a patient in an elderly care center | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa/O.Berg

Germany lacks skilled workers especially in the field of elderly care. Can refugees and asylum seekers access the vocational training necessary for the job and how does it work? InfoMigrants takes a look at the rules and regulations.

In Germany, there are 300 certified occupations, one of which is elderly care. Germany lacks skilled labor, especially in this field. There are 35,000 vacancies for skilled workers in the field of elderly care and medical orderlies and it has become a scarce occupation.

However, migration and vocational training of refugees could be an option to fill the gap of qualified workers in the sector that German care institutions have long complained about

In order to get a vacancy for vocational training in Germany, one must fulfill certain requirements. On the one hand, there are legal frameworks, and on the other hand, the person has to have sufficient language skills.

Status and vocational training

Everyone with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) can apply for a vacancy. (If you've been granted refugee protection, asylum status or subsidiary protection, you have a temporary residence permit).  

If you have a "Duldung", meaning a lesser form of protection, you may also apply for vocational training but you need the permission of the Foreigners Office first. 

If you just hold an "Aufenthaltsgestattung" - which you get after you've filed your asylum application -,  you have to wait three months before taking up any kind of training or work. 

Different kinds of vocational training

The vocational training usually takes three years. However, there are also shorter training periods for other positions. For example, you could do one-year of training to become an elderly care assistant.

Additionally, there is also a new form called "Pflegeassistenzausbildung" which takes two years, but it is only available in some German states.

These two forms are suitable as entry qualification for people with immigrant background in the field of elderly care.  

A refugee being trained in elderly care Credit picture alliancedpaOBerg

Requirements and documents

For applicants whose first language is not German, there are no formal rules. They only have to have a good command of the German language in order to be able to follow the courses.

Hence, your German language level should be at least B1 of the Common European Reference Framework.

There are several other documents required: police records, health certificate, a job offer from the employer that certifies the vacancy.

How can I find a vacancy?

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry offers so-called "Welcoming Pilots" who help refugees. The employment services of the Federal Labor Agency provide guidance as well.

Before starting the trianing ask yourself Do I like hands-on work with elderly people Credit picture-alliancedpaH Hollemann

'Duldung' and 'Ausbildung'

What happens if you have a "Duldung" (national ban on deportation) but have found a vacancy?

The German Residence Act will allow you to start a vocational training if there's a national ban on your deportation. This rule is called "Ausbildungsduldung."

It means: When an asylum seeker holds a "Duldung" he/she may not have the right to stay in Germany in a legal sense, but won't be deported for example because he/she has started a vocational training. Hence, "Ausbildungsduldung" is for people whose asylum application has been denied.

Who is excluded from getting an "Ausbildungsduldung?"

The person must not have initiated any measurements to terminate her/his residence permit and must not have been convicted due to an intentionally committed offence.

Residence permit after the vocational training

If you have successfully completed your vocational training and have received an official job offer, you are allowed to stay in Germany for two years. This rule is called "3+2 Regelung," because the 3 refers to the time period of a regular vocational training and the 2 refers to the residence permit for two years. The requirement is: your asylum process must be completed and denied.


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