How Germany is partnering with Brazil to recruit more skilled workers

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How Germany is partnering with Brazil to recruit more skilled workers
German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) and Brasilian Labour Minister Luis Marinho sign the declaration of "fair immigration" on Monday in Brasilia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Germany needs more care workers - and in Brazil, one in ten care workers is unemployed. With this in mind, German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil and Brazilian Labour Minister Luiz Marinho signed a declaration of intent for "fair immigration" to promote the exchange of skilled workers.


As part of an effort to attract more skilled workers from non-EU countries to the German labour market, Germany and Brazil signed a declaration of intent for "fair immigration" on Monday. 

“I am pleased that we will intensify the partnership between Brazil and the Germany in the future,” said Heil.

Heil, who is travelling through South America for several days with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, signed the declaration together with Marinho in Brazil's capital of Brasilia. 

The aim is to "create fair and simplified structures to promote the mutual exchange of skilled workers", it stated.

The main focus is on nursing, a field in which Germany faces a growing shortage. According to the German Hospital Association, there were around 14,000 vacant positions for nursing staff in clinics around Germany in 2021, with an additional 8.000 vacancies in intensive care units.

Currently, "more opportunities are being created in Brazil to train future caregivers especially for the German labour market", he said. 

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Part of larger push to recruit skilled workers

It is "important to him that everyone benefits when it comes to the immigration of skilled workers", Heil explained. 

According to the professional association Cofen, there are 2.5 million nurses in Brazil. But the unemployment rate in the sector hovered above 10 percent in 2021.

The recruitment of Brazilian skilled workers is part of a larger push to issue significantly more visas for foreign workers in the future. Last year, barely 100,000 skilled workers from non-EU countries came to Germany. "That is not enough," Baerbock and Heil wrote in a statement.


The government therefore wants to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for the families of skilled workers to join them. In order to do this, Germany’s Office for Foreign Affairs "will process four times as many visas for skilled workers by the end of 2024 as it does now".

Brazil is the only country in the region that Germany has had a strategic partnership with since 2008. South America's largest country is also Germany's most important trading partner in the region. 

According to Heil, there are currently up to 200 Brazilian nursing staff working in Germany.

READ ALSO: 'We've made a community': Who are the Brazilians in Germany and where do they live?

'Sensitive issue'

Heil called the recruitment of nurses a "sensitive issue". According to the rules of the World Health Organisation (WHO), countries with too few nursing staff should not be deprived of them. 

However, he said, if we cooperate better and establish fair rules, "including for fair migration, then it is in our mutual interest". 

In the past, there were far too bureaucratic procedures and off-putting immigration laws, he added.


Fair immigration - (die) faire Einwanderung

Exchange of skilled workers - (der) Fachkräfteaustausch

nurses/caregivers - (die) Pflegekraft

ease/simplify - erleichtern

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