Syrians lead the way, Over 60 thousand foreign doctors in Germany

Dr. Ayham Ibrahim accompanies one of the doctors during his rounds in the West Coast clinic in Heide, Germany - September 8, 2018 (The New York Times)

Dr. Ayham Ibrahim accompanies one of the doctors during his rounds in the West Coast clinic in Heide, Germany - September 8, 2018 (The New York Times)


The number of foreign doctors in Germany who do not hold a German passport has reached an all-time high, with a total of 63,763 doctors, led by Syrians.

The German news program Tagesschau reported a statistic from the German Medical Association indicating that Syrian doctors in Germany are at the top among foreign doctors coming from European Union countries or other European countries, as well as from the Middle East.

The number of Syrian doctors in Germany reached 6,120, followed by Romanian doctors with a count of 4,668.

Austrian doctors ranked third with a total of 2,993, while the number of Russian doctors reached 2,941, and Turkish doctors were in fifth position with 2,628 Turkish doctors.

The official medical journal, Ärzteblatt, published a report on May 24, 2023, stating that Syrian doctors ranked first in the number of foreign doctors in Germany in 2022, with statistics showing the presence of 5,339 Syrian doctors.

According to these statistics, the number has doubled compared to 2013 when there were about 30,000, and in 1993, there were only about 10,000 foreign doctors in Germany.

Language barriers

Germany still faces a significant shortage of doctors; however, the solution to this problem might be the presence of foreign doctors coming from abroad. Still, medical officials warn of emerging issues, according to the German site “Tagesschau”.

The general manager of the Medical Association for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Jürgen Hoffart, warned of increasing problems due to the inadequate German language knowledge of foreign doctors, which can lead to misunderstandings that may threaten the patient’s life on occasion.

Hoffart continued to state that the language problem might worsen in the coming years as there will be more foreign doctors in Germany.

One reason for the shortage of doctors is the failure to meet the need from students in Germany. Among around 11,000 medical graduates each year, a significant percentage do not go to work, according to Hoffart.


The number of asylum requests in the European Union increased by 18% during the year 2023, according to data published by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) on February 28, when the number reached 1,142,618 asylum applications.

Syrians made up the largest group of applicants, according to EUAA data, with 181,000 asylum applications, marking an increase of 38% compared to 2022.

According to the statistics, Germany remained the primary destination for asylum seekers in the European Union, as it received nearly a third of all applications with a total of 334,000 asylum requests.


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