Pilot Program Aimed at Attracting Personnel from Vietnam to Train as Nurses in Germany

  • Country of destination: Germany
  • Country of origin: Vietnam
  • Sectors: Healthcare
  • Skill level: Mid-level
  • Timeline: 2016 - 2019
  • Number of beneficiaries: 150


This pilot program trained more than 150 people from Vietnam to work in Germany clinics. As a result of its success, the program was scaled and will run through 2023.

Why was it started?

Like many high-income countries, Germany is suffering from a nursing shortage. The sector is programed to need 150,000 new nurses by 2025, and the need is expected to grow, given Germany’s aging population. To care for the elderly alone Germany is programed need more than 200,000 additional nursing staff by 2030, including almost 100,000 geriatric nurses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) largely prohibits the active recruitment of nurses from low- and middle-income countries with health worker shortages. Germany negotiated a cooperation agreement with Vietnam to train nurses, both with preparatory courses in Vietnam and traineeships within Germany, as a way to increase the stock of skilled nurses at German clinics.

How does it work?

The program was commissioned and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in Vietnam and implemented by the German Development Agency (GIZ) with support of the German Federal Employment Agency’s International Placement Service (ZAV). Before leaving Vietnam, trainees underwent a 13-month training course in German, intercultural training, and practical preparation for life in Germany. After passing their language certification, they were brought to Germany to begin their three-year nursing qualification. GIZ supported their integration in Germany.

What impact has it had?

At the start of 2019, 195 participants had completed their training and 125 were in training. Ninety-five percent of trainees passed their recognition exam on the first try, although some needed a few extra months to prepare for it. About 70 percent–80 percent of participants remained with their initial employer after completing their training, and 75 percent reported wanting to stay in Germany for the next 10 years. Remittance streams have been large (estimates suggest that a Filipino nurse can earn at least six times more in Germany than at home).

As a result of the success of these pilots, Germany scaled up its approach. Its new program, Recruiting Trainees from Viet Nam (Triple Win Nurses), will run from 2019 to 2023, training both general and geriatric care nurses.