7 EU Countries in Dire Need of Doctors & Nurses Are Offering Visas to Foreign Medical Professionals

Several EU countries are facing shortages in occupations related to the healthcare sector, as revealed by the 2023 EURES report on shortages and surpluses.

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Specialist doctors and nursing professionals roles emerged among the most common and most severe shortages, which the EU states are grappling to fill in by offering foreigners facilitated work visa procedures, Schengen.News reports.

Some of the European countries that reported a higher number of healthcare-related shortages were Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark.

Furthermore, Ireland and Switzerland emerged among EURES countries with the highest reliance on both foreign doctors and nurses.

Among the EURES countries, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland show the highest dependency on foreign-trained doctors, and Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria show the highest dependency on foreign-trained nurses.

2023 EURES Report on shortages and surpluses

Most In-Demand Professions Related to Healthcare in EU Countries

Overall, some of the healthcare occupations facing shortages in the five above-mentioned countries are as follows:

  • Specialist medical practitioners
  • Generalist medical practitioners
  • Nursing professionals
  • Health care assistants
  • Health professionals not elsewhere classified
  • Midwifery professionals
  • Physiotherapists
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Audiologists and speech therapists

Despite shortages, some of the EU countries are grappling with an increasingly ageing population, increasing their reliance on foreign workforce even more.

This implies that foreign professionals who belong to these occupations or any other healthcare profession facing shortages may have a higher chance of securing employment and a work visa in any of the above-mentioned countries.

In 2023, 1 in 8 Doctors in Germany Was a Foreigner

Germany is one of the EU countries that is constantly reporting shortages in the healthcare sector. The need for foreign healthcare professionals in this country is also reflected in Germany’s increasing number of foreign doctors.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), 12 per cent of doctors in Germany – accounting for 62,000 –  did not hold German citizenship in 2023. Such a figure represents a seven per cent increase compared to a decade earlier when the number of foreign doctors accounted for 29,000.

Overall, 115,000 foreign doctors moved to Germany, as further indicated by Destatis.

The profession of the doctor was the second most recognized foreign professional qualification in 2022.


In addition to doctors, Germany needs nurses from foreign countries to tackle the shortages in this occupation. In December 2023, Schengen.News reported that Germany needs an additional 150,000 nurses by 2025.

To address this situation, the German authorities are looking to attract nursing staff from foreign countries, including Latin America.

Additionally, foreign workers may find it noteworthy that some EU countries, including Germany and Denmark, have recently eased some immigration laws. This means that foreign workers who wish to move to these countries have a higher chance of obtaining a work visa.