A doctor looks out of a window at a hospital | Photo: Picture-alliance
A doctor looks out of a window at a hospital | Photo: Picture-alliance

As Germany tries to fill critical gaps in its skilled workforce, officials are recognizing more foreign professional degrees. Nurses, doctors and other health care professionals had the highest rates of approval.

Last year, Germany recognized 36,400 professional degrees issued to individuals abroad — 20% more than in 2017, according to the latest government data published on Wednesday.

Nearly two-thirds of the foreign professionals who requested recognition of their qualifications and saw their applications approved were in the health care sector, according to the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis).

Within those, 7,200 medical degrees for doctors were either fully or partially approved, as well as 10,400 qualifications for nursing and other health care officials.

The other most-recognized professions included engineers and teachers.

Germany has been trying to boost the number of skilled workers in critical areas such as nursing, senior care and early childhood education — and has been implementing programs to make the professions more attractive for workers at home and abroad. Overall, employment levels are high in Germany, the president of the Berlin-based Economic Research Institute (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, told DW.

Syria tops approval list

Syria topped the list of countries whose degrees and qualifications were approved, with Germany recognizing some 4,800 applications last year.

Bosnia and Herzegovina came in second with 3,000 approved qualifications, followed by Serbia with 2,100 and Poland with 2,000.

The number of applications with degrees from the Philippines more than doubled last year, up from 744 applications in 2017 to 1,605 in 2018.

Last year also saw a rise in the number of applications from abroad, according to the Education Ministry, with 5,958 people outside of Germany applying to get their degrees recognized, as opposed to 3,597 applicants in 2017.

Over 50% of the applications were submitted by women.

German Education Minister Anja Karliczek praised the rise in the number of recognized degrees, saying that the approval procedure helps both businesses and skilled workers.

"At the same time, it facilitates the rapid integration of immigrants into qualified employment and thereby strengthens Germany as a business hub," Karliczek said in a statement.

When a foreign-issued degree or professional certificate is recognized, that enables the person to pursue a career in a regulated profession in Germany.

rs/sms (dpa, KNA)

First published: August 21, 2019

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