Market Integration of Refugees


Labour Market Integration of Refugee Health Professionals in Germany: Challenges and


Sidra Khan-G€okkaya* and Mike M€osko*


Refugee health professionals are a vulnerable group in a host country’s labour market as they experience several barriers on their path to labour market integration. This study aims to iden- tify challenges refugee health professionals and their supervisors experience at their work- places and strategies they have developed to overcome these barriers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with refugee health professionals who have been living in Germany for an average of four years and their supervisors (n = 24). The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Nine themes were identified: (1) recognition of qualifica- tions, (2) language competencies, (3) differing healthcare systems, (4) working culture, (5) challenges with patients, (6) challenges with team members, (7) emotional challenges, (8) dis- crimination and (9) exploitation. Results indicate the need to implement structural changes in order to improve the labour market experiences of refugee health professionals.


The global healthcare workforce is facing skilled labour shortage. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a global shortage of 14.5 million health professionals by 2030 (World Health Orga- nization, 2006). The European Commission estimates a shortfall of 1 million health workers in Europe by 2020 (European Commission, 2012), and employment agencies in Germany predict a nationwide lack of health professionals (Bundesagentur f€ur Arbeit, 2018). In order to address this shortage, nearly all European countries depend on the recruitment of foreign-trained health professionals (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2017). Another strategy that has been imple- mented by the German government to address this shortage is the so-called “activation of domestic potential” (Bundesregierung, 2018). With that, the German government aims to address those groups that have difficult access to the labour market, such as refugees in order to improve their employability and use them to fill shortages (Bundesregierung, 2018). As the number of refugees in Germany has increased since 2015, the German government has recognized the need to address their labour market integration (Bundesregierung, 2016). However, refugees belong to a particularly vulnerable group in the labour market facing unemployment or underemployment (Tanay et al., 2016).

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, This paper is part of a special issue on the “Labour Market Integration of Highly Skilled Refugees in Sweden, Ger- many and the Netherlands”

doi: 10.1111/imig.12752

© 2020 The Authors. International Migration published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf

of International Organization for Migration International Migration

ISSN 0020-7985

This is an open access article under the terms of the Crea tive Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non- commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

"Is this question part of your assignment? We can help"