Making sure that the emigration of health-care personnel from Albania and BiH works for all: What Germany can do

Release date: 2020-12

The labour market for healthcare workers is one of the largest occupational markets worldwide with a comparatively high scale of public investments in human capital. Despite the already tangible ‘care crisis’, Germany and other European countries train healthcare workers below their actual demand relying on other countries to provide highly qualified personnel. Accordingly, the German Federal Ministries of Health (BMG) and Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) as well as private institutions are attracting and actively recruiting workers from several countries—prominently among them Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH).

The authors of BICC Policy Brief 8\2020 argue that these trends—Germany’s active recruitment of healthcare professionals (BMG/ BMAS), the support for socio-economic development and employment in the origin countries of healthcare workers (BMZ) and the creation of economic perspectives for returnees to foster their sustainable reintegration (BMZ, BMI)—show a conflict of stated objectives among ministerial policies. Given the risk of detrimental impacts of the migration of health professionals on the long-term socio-economic development in the Western Balkans, the recruitment incentives set by BMG and BMAS undermine the aims of bilateral development cooperation, i.e. to help enable people to live a life of dignity, including access to decent employment, to education and health services.

The recommendations in this Policy Brief aim to prevent Germany’s policies from undermining its own mandate to support socio-economic development to foster a life in dignity for all and to create perspectives for the stayees and returnees and enable the long-term reintegration of the latter.