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EURES member organisations make free movement a reality for healthcare workers

Healthcare is a priority for European citizens, but there is a misalignment between where healthcare workers live and where the demands for services exist.

As EURES celebrates its 25th birthday, the organisation and its members continue to be involved in solving this problem by facilitating the free movement of workers within Europe.

BBI Communication operates in both Sweden and Finland. It was initially a training provider but found an important niche in healthcare recruitment.

Kirsi Melvola of BBI said: “In the Scandinavian countries there is a lack of nurses, radiologists and psychiatrists,

“After completing more than 50 recruitment projects in the healthcare sector, nurses are still the most needed.”

Despite the harmonisation of legislation across Europe, there are still differences between national qualification standards. Kirsi explained: “We have special programmes in place to bridge the recognition issues between the sending countries of Greece, Spain and Portugal and the receiving nations."

The first recruitment task is to advertise employment opportunities in the sending country. Kirsi added: “We have very good networks in these countries. We know where to advertise and have good word of mouth from the friends and colleagues of people we have already placed. When we find potential employees we reach out to them and discuss their motivations.”

Once people have decided to move to a new job in Sweden or Finland, additional help is provided. “We offer language training programmes, we also assist with paperwork such as the legalisation process for the recognition of professional qualifications,” Kirsi continued.

"We also offer a ‘settling-in’ service to help with transferring social benefits such as pensions. We help them in finding housing, schools and childcare and introduce them to their new neighbourhood, including the social groups that will support their hobbies and interests.

“We also offer their spouse language training and introduce them to local employment services,”

Employers are able to obtain government funding to pay for the services of BBI. Alongside recruitment, the funding covers support such as language and cultural training for the employer.

Kirsi commented: “We need to understand that people who are moving will have different expectations and experiences to the local workforce.  For example, in the healthcare sector in many southern European countries a specialist’s role may be extremely specific, whereas, in the Nordic countries, there is an expectation that people will use their wider knowledge.”

Speaking about the importance of the EURES Network, Kirsi concluded that: “As a company, we have been working with EURES for over a decade. We have been developing this programme for our client, the Finnish public employment service in close cooperation with EURES. All groups throughout Europe need to co-operate and EURES helps with this.

"Trust has been built. We may use different tools, methods and resources, but EURES allows us to come together in the best possible way.”


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