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7 EU Countries Offering Visas to Foreign Medical Professionals Due to Dire Shortages

Several EU countries are grappling with significant shortages in the healthcare sector, according to the 2023 EURES report on shortages and surpluses. Specialist doctors and nursing professionals are among the most severely impacted roles, prompting EU states to offer facilitated work visa procedures to attract foreign medical professionals.

7 EU Countries Offering Visas to Foreign Medical Professionals Due to Dire Shortages


Countries reporting higher numbers of healthcare-related shortages include Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark. The report highlights that Ireland and Switzerland show the highest reliance on both foreign doctors and nurses.


"Among the EURES countries, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland show the highest dependency on foreign-trained doctors, and Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria show the highest dependency on foreign-trained nurses," stated the 2023 EURES Report on shortages and surpluses.


The healthcare occupations facing shortages in these countries encompass a range of professions, including specialist medical practitioners, generalist medical practitioners, nursing professionals, health care assistants, health professionals not elsewhere classified, midwifery professionals, physiotherapists, dentists, pharmacists, and audiologists and speech therapists.


Despite these shortages, many EU countries are also dealing with an aging population, increasing their reliance on a foreign workforce. This implies that foreign professionals in these healthcare fields may have a higher chance of securing employment and a work visa in any of the mentioned countries.


Germany, in particular, is consistently reporting shortages in the healthcare sector. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), 12 percent of doctors in Germany in 2023 did not hold German citizenship, accounting for 62,000 foreign doctors. This figure represents a seven percent increase compared to a decade earlier when the number of foreign doctors was 29,000. "Overall, 115,000 foreign doctors moved to Germany," as indicated by Destatis.

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The profession of doctor was the second most recognized foreign professional qualification in 2022, as per Destatis. In addition to doctors, Germany also needs nurses from foreign countries to tackle shortages in this occupation. In December 2023 it was reported that Germany needs an additional 150,000 nurses by 2025. To address this situation, German authorities are actively seeking nursing staff from foreign countries, including Latin America.


Foreign workers should also note that some EU countries, including Germany and Denmark, have recently eased immigration laws, increasing the chances of obtaining a work visa for those wishing to move to these countries.



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