POEA success story deploying nurses to Germany


Last week, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced before media practitioners that Germany needs 200,000 registered nurses over the next four years.

The announcement was made a month after the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), which Baldoz chairs, issued GB Resolution No. 4, Series of 2016, allowing the participation of private recruitment agencies in the recruitment, deployment, and employment of Filipino nurses to Germany.

“The resolution now paves the way for the immediate hiring and deployment of nurses to Germany outside of the Triple Win Project,” said Baldoz, who explained that the high demand for professional nurses in one of Europe’s largest and most stable economies made the issuance necessary.

More than three years earlier, recruitment of nurses to Germany was the exclusive responsibility of the POEA under the Triple Win Project (TWP) implementing the terms of the labor agreement between the Philippines and Germany.

Allowing licensed private recruiters and expanding the recruitment outside of TWP is seen as a step to achieve the goal of deploying the preferred health-care workers. Otherwise, the intention to fill in most of the 200,000 needed and preferred RNs by Germany may not be reached.

Secretary Baldoz, however, warned recruitment agencies they “cannot collect any placement fee from applicants.”

When did the Triple Win Project start? A chronology is provided below:

March 19, 2013 – The Philippines and Germany signed a labor agreement to deploy Filipino Health Professionals – particularly nurses. The recruitment was to be done exclusively by the POEA’s in-house placement facility and the Federal Employment Agency (BA) through the International Placement Services (ZAV).

July 2013 – the government of the Federal Republic of Germany passed an employment ordinance allowing “the immigration of recognized occupations, including nurses, among others, into the German labor market, under the so-called ‘White List’ of the German Employment Regulation, through the private sector.”

Febr. 18, 2014 – Sixteen Filipino nurses advanced to the German language proficiency (Level B1/B2) required under the Triple Win Project.

March 25-31, 2014 – The first round of recruitment ended with 133 nurse applicants passing the face-to-face interviews conducted by the Triple Win Project Team of the Federal Employment Agency of Germany (ZAV) and the German Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ).

May 29, 2014 – Seventeen nurses matched with hospital employers in Frankfurt and Tubingen after their qualifications were recognized and subsequently work as registered nurses in Germany.

TWP RNs who pre-qualified had to pass a B1 level of German language proficiency, completed a pre-departure orientation and professional training then issued the work visa after passing a medical examination. The nurses had to take the 6-month free German language training (GLT) course to meet the required German language level under the program jointly conducted by the Goethe Institut and Berlitz Language Center, the only authorized training entities for the Triple Win Project.

Oct. 4, 2014 – Two Filipina nurses – Krystel Anne B. Sumido and Eowyn C. Galvez – qualified to work in Germany after passing the Qualified Nurses (Gesundheits-und Krankenpflegerin) under the TWP. Total number of nurses employed under the program – 27.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac reported that there were “225 nurses under the program, 70 of whom are in language class A1 and A2; 102 nurses due for language classes; four (4) nurses with B1 (or language skills) waiting for employers; and eight (8) nurses with B1 waiting to be deployed. There are 16 nurses who backed out, reducing the number of nurses in active status to 209.”

Feb. 10, 2016 – Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Governing Board of the POEA has GB Resolution No. 4, Series of 2016.

Requirements to work in Germany outside of TWP
Foreign nurses (specifically those from non-European countries or coming from a Non-European area such as the Philippines) must be licensed in the State (Lander in Germany) of intended practice. A foreign nurse’s qualifications must first be recognized by a competent authority in the Lander (state) that has jurisdiction over the RN’s intended place of practice. For example, if the RN-PH intends to work, or if the sponsoring employer is based in Berlin, the competent authority is shown below (each state or lander has its own competent authority). Official Source – https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/tools/berater/en/berater/profile/354

Language level required to practice
Outside of the TWP, a foreign nurse (RN-PH) must have German language proficiency level of at least level B2 under the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages.

Under the TWP, nurses pre-qualified and subsequently deployed to Germany were required only CEFR Level 1. Applicants intending to work in Germany must, therefore, inquire from a licensed recruitment agency where the accredited principal or employer intends to place the RN-PH and what CEFR Language Level is required.

CEFR Level 1 requires a foreign nurse to “understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.; produce simple connected text on topics of personal interest and describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

CEFR Level B2, on the other hand, requires the RN-PH to understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization – in this case nursing. In addition, the foreign nurse must be able to interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.

Since the foreign nurse will be dealing with life or death situations, CEFR Level 2 is the basic, official requirement for a foreign nurse to practice without restrictions.

To determine the competent authority in charge of recognition procedure, an intending RN-applicant to Germany may contact Kai Friedrich of Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales Berlin by e-mail at kai.friedrich@lageso.berlin.de

How the qualifications of non-EEA nurses are recognized
The competent authority (single point of contact) assesses whether the qualifications gained abroad are equivalent to the corresponding German qualifications. The qualifications are recognized as equivalent if there are no substantial differences between your foreign qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications. In addition to training, the competent authorities also consider the professional experience gained at home or abroad. Significant differences in qualifications can be offset by relevant professional experience.

Qualifications from non-EU/EEA states
An RN-PH may choose whether to take an examination or to take part in a compensation measure lasting a maximum of three years. The examination tests are for knowledge of the substance of the state final examination. The adaptation period concludes with a final examination to prove knowledge of course content. The license is granted upon passing the examination and successful completion of the adaptation period.

Where to send applications
The single point of contact assists with application and forwards the documents to the competent authority carrying out the recognition procedure – free of charge.

What does the procedure cost?
The procedure costs vary and depend on the individual case and the legal provisions in the respective Land. The relevant approbation authority determines the exact costs on an individual basis and will inform you about this. Further costs may also be incurred (e.g., for translations, certification or compensation measures). Cost may differ on an individual basis.

However, agencies cannot pass on the cost of this placement-related procedure to applicants.


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  1. They are not charities – some-one has to pay. German employers are unlikley pay for Filipinos when they can get people for nothing elsewhere.

  2. You did not mention that the POEA had comminted to have 500 nurses placed by the end of 2014 and that only 28 nurses have been sent to day under the TWP. It was the total failure and inability of the POEA to deliver which was why they reluctantly allowed the private sector send nurses. Sadly the terms and conditions manadated by German employers will mean few being sent by the provate sector either. What the POEA do not understand that nurses going to Germany are going as migrants and will be allowed to apply for PR after working for 3 years in Germany. The policies of the POEA are denying nurses these opportunities to make a new life in Germany for themselves, their partners and children.

  3. francisco constantino on

    You really believe these agencies won’t find a way to go around and charge placement fees? I’ll be a monkey’s uncle….