Denmark announces talks with India and Philippines to recruit health staff

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Denmark announces talks with India and Philippines to recruit health staff
Danish health minister Sophie Løhde says foreign labour is needed to meet shortages in health and social care. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s government said on Wednesday that it is ready to seal an agreement with India and the Philippines which would ease the path for healthcare professionals to be hired in Denmark.


In a statement released by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the Danish government said it would “explore the possibilities of entering into agreements with countries including India and the Philippines on targeted training and recruitment of health professionals”.

Denmark has a longstanding labour shortage in several sectors of the economy, including healthcare. Businesses have repeatedly called for more foreign labour to address the issue, while the coalition government has previously appeared split on how far it should go to recruit from abroad.

The government last year said it was to commence “labour mobility” talks with India.


In Wednesday’s statement, the government said that there was still a shortage in healthcare sectors such as social assistance, despite domestic recruitment and education drives.

“Even though recent years have seen an increase in the number of students who complete their education as social and health assistants, this is far from sufficient to cover the demand in the health and elderly care systems,” it said.

A shortage of 15,000 workers in the social health care sector alone is predicted by 2035, according to the Ministry of Finance, while the number of enrolments on nursing degrees is declining, according to the government statement.


Following a recent government decision to raise pay for several categories of health worker, steps will now be taken with a view to labour agreements with “third countries”, meaning countries outside the European Union such as India and the Philippines, it said.

No specific detail of any potential agreement is given in the statement.

“Initially, the plan is to engage in dialogue with India and the Philippines, who have indicated that they are prepared to participate in an agreement on recruitment of health professionals,” the government said.

Any agreement depends on the outcome of talks with the countries in question. On the Danish side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lead negotiations alongside the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Ministry of Immigration and Integration.

“We are standing on a burning platform. There is already great shortage of healthcare personnel, and we are looking at a future where the shortage of labour in our healthcare and elderly care will be even greater,” Health Minister Sophie Løhde said in the statement.

“Therefore, we must also explore the possibilities of attracting foreign social and health workers, who are the professional group that will be in greatest shortage in the coming years,” she said.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also