1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Goodbye Deutschland

May 27, 2009

A new migration study says an alarming number of highly qualified Germans are packing their skills and certificates and heading for foreign shores, the majority of them on a one-way ticket.

A doctor gives a child an injection in the arm
Thousands of German doctors have chosen to work abroadImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Researchers at the independent Council of Experts on Integration and Migration have found that some 180,000 Germans have left their country in the past five years. And that, says Council chairman Klaus J. Bade, presents a national-scale "personnel problem.“

He says it's time for politicians to wake up and realize that those who are leaving are better qualified than those coming in from elsewhere. One field where the personnel pinch is being acutely felt is medicine.

The Council's latest report shows that more than 3,000 medical staff, most of whom were trained in Germany, left the country in 2008. That brings the total number of German doctors working abroad to 19,000. Meanwhile, Bade points out, there are places in the eastern part of the country, the former GDR, where the lack of medical practitioners is reaching crisis proportions.

In order for the situation to change, Bade says it's crucial to take a new look at immigration laws. He suggests a system which would give priority to people who could offer Germany needed skills.

The migration researcher also said Germany should do more to attract international talent. "We don’t operate a welcome culture,“ he said, adding it was high time Germany implemented a national policy for easier recognition of foreign qualifications and that there should be active encouragement for foreign students to stay in Germany after graduation.


Editor: Susan Houlton