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Health For Members

How Austria is making it easier for foreign health workers to immigrate

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How Austria is making it easier for foreign health workers to immigrate
Nurses and other healthcare personnel is in high demand. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Austria's ageing population and healthcare worker shortage are among the country’s main challenges. One solution is to attract foreign carers to work but the process is complex.

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Austria's population is getting older, the country's Health Ministry has warned. The need for care will increase significantly in the coming years—just as the care sector faces a shortage of labour (due to an upcoming wave of retirements and fewer people willing to enter the nursing profession). 

To address the shortage of skilled workers, healthcare facilities and supporting organisations are making efforts to recruit staff from third countries. However, one of the main obstacles health workers face is the Austrian bureaucracy itself. The country’s nostrification process, the recognition of foreign qualifications, is long and complicated.

 "The procedures sometimes take too long. The same qualification is usually treated differently depending on the federal state or university of applied sciences. We are now tackling this," said Health Minister Johannes Rauch in a press release.

READ ALSO: How to apply for a €1,400 per month nursing scholarship in Austria

Standardisation and acceleration of recognising foreign qualifications

Austria is now creating a general database for recognise foreign qualifications, Rauch said, seeking to make the process easier and quicker without compromising the country’s high standards in nursing care.

The database makes available general sample reports, which can then be used by states and universities for the nostrification procedures from all third countries. The government says some special reports were also created for applicants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine, Colombia, the Philippines, India, and Tunisia. This way, the recognition of qualifications won't need to start from scratch for every single applicant. 

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The database does not replace the individual examination. However, the Health Ministry says it supports the federal states and universities of applied sciences in their work, speeds up procedures, and contributes to standardisation.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

New website for nurses and care workers

Austria's Ministry of Social Affairs also created a new website where nursing staff from abroad can find information on starting a career in Austria. 

The website is also in English, and a short self-assessment can lead you to the correct authorities to start your diploma recognition process.

The new database and website are part of Austria's effort to bring more nursing staff to the country and make the care professions more attractive. In 2022, Austria unveiled a € 1 billion reform package to improve working conditions for health sector professionals, as The Local reported.

It involved several bonuses tied to salaries, investments in training and a nursing scholarship for those switching (or switching back) to the nursing profession of up to €1,400 will be funded by the Austrian Employment Agency AMS. 

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There were also measures such as an extra week of paid holidays for all those older than 43 and more "time credit" per night shift for those in inpatient long-term care. 

READ NEXT: Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

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