Balkan health workers dream a German dream
The same picture one might place in every single town in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia or Monte Negro – recruitment recently has been taking place all over.
“I`m leaving as soon as I reach the B2 and I`m not going to get back ever. A friend of mine already left. He is a surgeon and he earns monthly as much as I earn in ten months. I would stay here if the situation in the country could become better, but I can`t wait. I`m 36 and I can’t waste my time on waiting anymore”, pathologist Goran T. told fairplanet.
Behind the scenes of conflict-driven mass migrations from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq to Europe, there are legal migrations from Balkan countries to Germany lasting for several years. The targeted migrants are health workers because of a shortage of medical staff in the respective country.
“My best man is a cardiologist. He left his job in Serbia and moved in Bayern. He had EUR 700 monthly in Serbia, whereas he has prospered very quickly in Germany reaching EUR 4,200 monthly in half year only. I visited him and then decided to learn German. I`m not hundred percent sure I`m leaving, I just want to be prepared if one day I can`t stand here anymore”, dermatologist Dejan E. told fairplanet.
Dejan comes from the well-situated family. His father is a psychiatrist, his mother cardiologist, his sister gynaecologist, another sister judge and his wife is an economist. He is head of the dermatology department at the local hospital and he has his private dermatological practice. Yet, he doesn`t feel he is professionally accomplished.
“My wage is EUR 1,000 monthly. In Germany, I would earn four-time more. But this is not the main reason I`m thinking about leaving. Health care system here is so weak I don`t even have dermoscopy, the hospital has no money to buy it and I have to beg the non-governmental organisations to help the hospital to get it”, Dejan explained.
There are dozens of agencies mediate between German employers and local health workers in Balkan. It even looks like the business becomes more and more lucrative since the agencies provide language courses, international language exam, translation services, diploma verification, travel costs and finding an appropriate job – all for free or for the negligibly small amount of money.
“„The last group of 11 people left to Bremen on January 26th. We guarantee one may learn the B2 level of the German language in 4,5 months of intensive course to 11,5 months on regular basis. If participants afterwards find the job by themselves, not via an agency, they are obliged to pay EUR 2,000 compensation”, Merima Hajder from a local agency (Centar za afirmaciju i razvoj Banja Luka) said.
Usually, there is more than one mediator in this kind of business, so-called headhunters agencies, such as Luebeck-based EMConsulting which recruits the employees for the health sector in Germany in associate with local Balkan agencies. They are sort of filtrating the candidates in order employers get the good final product and not to waste the time with incompetent workers regarding both language skills and healthcare qualifications. Another recruitment points are foreign languages schools.
“Most of our students have medical education and most of them learn the German language in order to leave and to work there. A lot of agencies from all Balkan countries are offering their services via our school and we don`t mind to forward to our students all the information we get”, Slađana Jović from Prijedor-based “New Academy Language School” told fairplanet.
Milica Marjanović, one of their students moved to Hamburg in 2015 when she was 20. She was an unemployed nurse, she got the job in a home for the elderly and she plans to continue her education.
“I never regretted it and I think I never will”, she told fairplanet.
Unlike Milica, her coeval Davor didn`t manage. He found the job in Berlin the last autumn but he failed to keep it since his language knowledge was insufficient.
„Now I continue to learn the language and try to find a new job, but this time somewhere in Bayern to be closer to my hometown. Meanwhile, I found the job here in Prijedor in the home for the elderly, but the conditions were unbearable. I had to work by myself with 15 patients in the same time”, Davor told fairplanet.
Some people are willing to huge sacrifices. Retired nurse Vidica is the mother of two and grandmother of five. She is taking care of her grandchildren while her daughters and sons-in-law are trying to start new lives in Germany. One may see grandma Vidica every morning taking five kids to kindergarten. On the other hand, some people are prepared to falsify diplomas in order to reach the job in Germany, as police and prosecutors records show. The investigation is still ongoing.
Veterinarians are also more than welcomed. Spouses Milijana and Alexandar have their own private practice. With three minor daughters, language learning goes pretty slowly.
„Recently we contacted some 20 veterinarians all over Germany. Five of them called us to start working immediately. Aleksandar has just get back from Goeppingen. He is delighted regard the conditions, but we have to improve our language skills“, Milijana told fairplanet.
Back to the city library, as time goes by, more and more people are coming in. The lights are off because of the video presentation. It is overcrowded but silent. People are asking questions, one by one, shyly and quietly. Family medicine specialist in his late fifties wants to know is he too old and, if not, when he can expect his family to accompanied him once he starts working in Germany.
“After you submit the proves you got three monthly salaries and you have enough of place for the family in your accommodation, you apply for your family arrival. Earlier the procedure last few weeks, but recently even a year. It is because German embassy in Bosnia is simply overbooked”, Merima Hajder from the local agency said.