Frequently Asked Questions by our International Applicants
If you would like to live and work in Germany as a citizen of another country, Diakonie offers opportunities for you. In order to be successful with your application, please read the following instructions.
What is the most important thing to know about working for Diakonie?
Diakonie is the social welfare organization of the protestant churches in Germany. The most helpful thing to know is that our organization is a network of 30,000 facilities with more than 500,000 employees in several thousand cities, towns and villages – but we do not have a central Human Resources department. Our kindergartens, nursing homes, hospitals, facilities for disabled people and others all do their own hiring. Please find out exactly what you want to do first and then apply for a specific position at a specific facility.
Diakonie offers positions in roughly 30 different professions in the social services and health care sector. However, due to legal reasons, international applicants will most easily find access to jobs in nursing and elder care. But we can tell success stories of child care workers and remedial teachers who made it in our facilities, too.
Where can I apply if I want to work for Diakonie?
Please send your application directly to our facilities such as Diakonie kindergartens, nursing homes, hospitals or facilities for disabled people. But consider carefully which facilities you address. Only a few of them have experience with international employees. They are much more likely to respond than others. Here’s a list:
- Agaplesion Diakonieklinikum Rotenburg (Wümme) (jobs and advanced training for employees in healthcare sector)
- Agaplesion Gesundheitskonzern (jobs in hospitals for nurses)
- Bruderhaus Diakonie (jobs in elder care for nurses and trainee opportunities in elder care)
- Dialog Akademie (advanced training for nurses with professional qualifications from other countries who want to achieve a German professional qualification)
- Diakonie Württemberg (trainee opportunities in elder care for young people from Kosovo)
- Diakonie Wolfsburg (job advertisements in different languages, especially for nurses and care assistants)
- CareFlex (diaconal recruitment agency, program for nurses from Italy, but also interested in applicants from other countries)
- Ev. Stadtmission Karlsruhe (jobs in elder care for nurses)
- Zieglersche (accepts applications from abroad)
What are my options in Diakonie facilities?
You can apply as an international volunteer for a 12-month-service (more information here). This will give you the opportunity to get to know Germany and your employer, before you decide to stay. But remember to start checking out your opportunities for after your volunteer service right away! Nobody else is going to take care of that.
You can also apply as a trainee and do your apprenticeship in Germany. Due to legal reasons, international applicants will most easily find access to apprenticeships in nursing and elder care.
If you already have professional qualifications in health services, you can request their approval in Germany. While you are waiting for the approval, you may work as an assistant nurse or caregiver. Once your request is approved, you can work as a regular nurse or caregiver.
What can I do if my application is rejected?
Diakonie facilities may not respond to or reject your application for various reasons: Maybe the person in charge does not speak the language you used in your application. Maybe he or she doesn’t understand your C.V. or certificates. Maybe he or she has no idea whether your qualifications are valid in Germany. Maybe the facility doesn't have any experience with international applicants. Now, what can you do so that your chances are better next time?
Take as many necessary steps as you can before applying. For instance, request the approval of your professional qualifications by German authorities. Learn German and bring a Level B2-certificate. Get help with the legal process from a counselling service. Try to find a German native speaker who volunteers to translate your C.V., helps you with the forms and accompanies you to meetings with the authorities and Diakonie facilities.
Does Diakonie offer counselling for international applicants?
The legal process is a little tricky. There are many different regulations depending on which country you come from, which job you want to work in and whether you are a regular international applicant / migrant / person granted asylum or a refugee / asylum seeker. To sum up, we can say that – depending on your individual background – you might need an approval of your professional qualifications or school certificates, an employment contract or preliminary contract by a German employer, a permission from our Federal Employment Agency to work in the specific position that has been offered to you, a working permit from the Foreigners’ Registration Office, a residence permit (visa) and a general working permit.
Diakonie offers counselling services:
- Welcome Center Sozialwirtschaft Baden-Württemberg (counselling for international applicants who want to work in south-western Germany)
- Youth Migration Services (counselling service especially for young refugees and immigrants)
- Zentrale Anlaufstelle Anerkennung (counselling service especially for approval of professional qualifications, Hamburg)
- Migrationsdienste (counseling centers for adult refugees and immigrants)
Which mistakes should I avoid?
Please do not send your application to our federal association in Berlin (Diakonie Deutschland). We do not offer nursing or caring jobs – we do lobby work.
Please do not send vague e-mails saying, “I come from country X and want to work in Germany.“ We can’t help you this way. Please find out exactly what you want first, and then apply for a specific position at a specific Diakonie facility. Please include your C.V., certificates, a picture of yourself and a letter of motivation.
Please make sure you speak some German before you apply. Since you will work with people in need, you will have to be able to talk to them. German skills are required - ideally Level B2. Applicants who don’t speak German at all or don't have a certificate are unlikely to be accepted.