The first nurses from Mexico have arrived

Germany is desperately looking for nurses around the world. A retirement home manager explains how this works.

Was just in Mexico on a recruiting trip: Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU)

Dhe nursing staff is scarce. This problem has been recognized, and according to the political doctrine, remedial action can only come from abroad. It will not work without the import of skilled workers from all over the world. “We will not be able to meet our needs through training alone here,” says Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) time and again.

For the first time, Mexicans are now being deployed in German retirement and nursing homes. “We are the first German company in the care of the elderly that has recruited care workers from Mexico,” says Rainer Hohmann, managing director of Alloheim Senioren-Residenzen SE, one of the three largest private providers in the field.

Five dozen Mexican nurses have been working there for several months, spread across 24 facilities of the nursing company, which cares for more than 20,000 people. For its Mexicans, Alloheim has started a pilot project with the Federal Employment Agency and its central foreign and specialist placement service, which pre-selects suitable employees on site in Central America.

“Introductory week to life in Germany”

Health Minister Jens Spahn regularly goes on advertising campaigns for nursing staff. In the summer he was in Kosovo, in September in Mexico, and he sent representatives from his ministry to the Philippines to request reinforcements for the German retirement homes.

In order to organize the replenishment, politicians founded their own authority last week: the German Agency for Health and Nursing Professions (DeFa). It should be faster and easier to hire nursing staff abroad, according to the order.

So far, the bureaucratic effort has been enormous. For example, after the Mexicans had signed their employment contract, the private care company Alloheim applied for a work permit for them, as well as recognition of their professional qualifications and then the visa at the German embassy – a process that takes between six and twelve months but is still worthwhile for the employer As Alloheim managing director Hohmann explains: “The employees from Mexico are very well trained in their subject matter, and the nursing profession there usually requires a four-year degree. They have also practiced the German language in Mexico. “

The sticking point for their use in the retirement home is not the standard German either. But the local dialects. “It’s not that easy at first.”

The entry into Germany for the newcomers from Mexico begins with an “introductory week in which they get to know life in Germany in theory and practice,” says the Alloheim manager, who has been recruiting nurses abroad for eleven years; currently from Albania, Bosnia, China, Macedonia, Serbia, the Philippines and now also from Mexico.

The population there is on average significantly younger than in Germany, and the surplus of care workers is high. “We have noticed a high level of interest among Mexican nurses in living and working in Germany,” says the Alloheim managing director.