More and more medical professionals trained abroad want to work in Berlin. The number of applications for recognition of doctors licensed abroad increased in the first half of 2022. The State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Lageso) recently set up extra positions in the responsible department in order to speed up the processes. This emerges from a response from State Secretary for Science Armaghan Naghipour (Greens) to a request from FDP health expert Florian Kluckert, which was available to the Tagesspiegel in advance.

By the beginning of June this year, almost 390 applications from doctors licensed abroad had been received in Lageso. This could bring the total number of applications for recognition to 900 by the end of the year, which would be more than has been usual in recent years. So far this year, 165 applications have been approved, and those concerned are now allowed to work as doctors in Germany. Most of the applications in 2022 came from Syrians, who submitted 44 applications, followed by Turks, Egyptians, Ukrainians and Russians.

Meanwhile, applications for admission as registered nurses came mostly from women and men from Mexico, the Philippines, Iran, Bosnia and Albania. In Mexico, the Philippines and the Balkans in particular, German nursing homes and individual hospitals, including the Berlin Charité, had specifically recruited staff. So far this year, Brazil has been the leader, with 55 applications. A total of more than 270 applications for care were received at Lageso by the beginning of June, and “permission to use the professional title” was granted 108 times.

All hospitals in the region are urgently looking for nurses, especially since a new collective agreement has come into force in the Charité and the state-owned Vivantes clinics, which prescribes additional staff. Then there are the city’s nursing homes, which also need more professionals. The city’s health authorities are urgently looking for doctors.

The FDP remains skeptical, given the global crises, more applications were expected. “It seems that professionals tend to choose other countries to work there,” MP Kluckert said. “This could be due to the fact that the specialists needed in Berlin still have to wait months for their training to be recognised. The Senate must solve the problem of waiting times and streamline bureaucratic procedures in order to speed up the recognition process.”

The answer to Kluckert shows that 16 positions will be responsible for the procedures at Lageso in the future, 15 of which are occupied. Last year there were only 13 Lageso employees working there. Secretary of State Naghipour writes that faster recognition procedures are difficult “due to the rights of the applicants and the high standards required by law for the examination of the documents”.

The procedure for a doctor or nurse with training in an EU country, who also has the necessary language skills and submits all the necessary documents, often lasts only one month. The procedure for “third-country training” without the appropriate language level often takes “considerably longer”.

Despite all the “bureaucracy”, more and more doctors from abroad are working in Berlin. From 2018 to 2021, more than 1,300 licenses were granted to doctors with foreign training, which was about a third of all licenses.