A study by the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) made this
year shows that: If people in the EU want to be well cared for in their old age
or if they will need long-term care, then significantly more workers are needed
in the health and long-term care sectors. More qualified personnel from third
countries will be needed to meet these demands. A total of eleven million
additional health and long-term care workers will be needed by 2030.
Europe is ageing
Europe is ageing even with clear
differences within the separate countries. Whereas one fifth of the EU’s
population were older than 65 in 2019, this figure will be one third by 2060.
This will pose an enormous challenge to the healthcare system and especially to
the care sector. According to the authors of the study, the development of a
suitable workforce must be planned in its entirety, so as to meet the
increasing demands in terms of both scope and qualifications.
Shortage of carers
To date, almost two million workers in the
EU are employed outside their country of origin. Their preference was to
migrate to Germany, with its comprehensive health and care system, as well as
Italy, Sweden, France and Spain. A good two-thirds of all "foreign"
care workers work in these five countries. Even though their 13.2 percent
proportion has risen in recent years, there are still far too few of them
overall. The corresponding proportions in the USA or the United Kingdom are
Europe needs more personnel from third countries
A good part of the staffing needs could be
covered by domestic training or mobility within the EU. However, migration from
third countries is playing an increasingly important role. According to the
study, there is a lack of sector-specific instruments for systematically
recruiting health and care workers from outside Europe. Training also differs
from country to country and the procedures for recognising the qualifications
are complex. The recruitment of long-term care or support workers will be
hampered due to the lack of assessment schemes for the informal skills needed
for these very jobs. There will only be a manageable number of international
partnerships to recruit health and care workers.
This is why the authors recommend bundling
the existing migration channels and focusing more on the health and long-term
care systems. The existing WHO
Global Code of Conduct for the international recruitment of health
personnel must be observed.