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Employing Internationals in Dutch healthcare

Over the past year we have learned how much our healthcare system is dependent on a few critical resources. We always took for granted that when we got ill, there would be professionals, medication and equipment to cure us.

Scarcity of medical personnel has been a challenge since long before the current crisis, as many internationals have learned who were not able to register with a GP.

Early last year Healthcare for internationals (H4i) started a project together with the Health Innovation School Noord-Brabant (HIS) to have internationals with a background in healthcare join Dutch healthcare.


It is not only a matter of numbers, however. More and more healthcare providers see the need to foster diversity in their facilities to provide care to clients and patients, that are increasingly from another ethnic or cultural background.

Internationals are interested to work in Dutch healthcare but find the steps to qualify very hard.

They also report lack in support while trying to qualify or getting a job at the end of the process.

These were some of the outcomes of research done by the HIS project team and H4i, that surveyed both healthcare providers and internationals with a background in healthcare.

Internationals in Care

The team proposed a more integrated approach in supporting internationals in qualifying for healthcare jobs and enabling them to contribute to Dutch healthcare. They titled this approach: ‘More heart’, taking to heart the needs and issues of both international candidates and employers in healthcare.

This will be realized by a network, Internationals in Care, IICare in short, that aims to link stakeholders such as employers, recruitment agencies, internationals, professional and language training providers, local and national governmental agencies.

It will initiate projects and programs in this network that will actual provide employment to internationals and increase capacity and diversity in healthcare.

Pilot program

In the province Noord-Brabant, a first project was started earlier this year to employ internationals as nurse or assistant nurse. Candidates for this project responded to a call by H4i, that resulted in almost 200 responses.

The program, executed by one of IICare’s and H4i’s partners, Spijtenburg,  will support candidates in the registration as a healthcare professional in the Netherlands. For this they need to attain at least a B1 level in Dutch. A language course will be provided as part of the program when needed.

Internationals that complete the program will be offered an initial position at a healthcare facility. Recently first internationals have been offered a job in Dutch healthcare.

IICare and H4i are working to develop similar programs for other professionals, such as  doctors and mental healthcare professionals.

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