An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Nelson Safaissou, Doctor of Medicine (Approbation)

Thanks to recog­ni­tion as a doc­tor, I can now con­tin­ue with my train­ing and am ex­cit­ed to see what hap­pens next!

Nelson Safaissou, born in Cameroon, received approbation as a doctor back in October 2013. Today he is working in the gynaecology department at a hospital in Leisnig, Saxony.

My advice
Do not give up! You must have pa­tience and you must be well-pre­pared. How­ev­er, the lan­guage is the most im­por­tant thing.
Nelson Safaissou
Reference occupation
Doctor of Medicine (Approbation)
Country of origin of qualification
Current job
Doctor in training (as gynaecology and obstetrics Consultant)

My story

Finding his way in a new country was nothing new to Nelson Safaissou. The 32 year old, originally from Cameroon, completed his medical university course in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. “After qualifying, I wanted to specialise by training as a consultant. I was keen to move to Europe for this because Madagascar sometimes does not have the material and equipment needed”, explained Nelson Safaissou.

He met his wife in Madagascar. She comes from Germany, or more specifically, from Saxony. “We first considered going to France because my wife also speaks French fluently.” Changes in the German recognition law meant that they opted in favour of Germany. “Compared to France, it seemed easier here to gain approbation, despite the language barrier."

For Nelson Safaissou, the route to recognition in Germany started on the internet. “I also used the Recognition Finder and this provided me with a lot of important information about the occupation profile and the relevant authorities”, commented the native-born Cameroonian. However, the actual recognition procedure was a major challenge, and, above all, the language: “I studied German only for over a year. This is because you need to have language level B2 to be able to apply for approbation. Today, I have already reached level C1 - so the hard work has paid off!”.

The second hurdle was the work permit as a doctor. This is because, in order to receive approbation, the applicant must be able to show that he or she has a guarantee of employment in Saxony. The particular office of the regional council in which the future employer is located is, in line with this, actually responsible for approbation. “However, without approbation, I was not able to find a job - a classic dilemma. That was a really difficult situation!", the doctor recalled. “Towards the end I actually considered applying for jobs as a nurse..."

However Nelson Safaissou did not give up. He eventually found out, from a friend of his wife, about the IBAS counselling centre in Dresden which was part of the “Integration through training” - IQ network in Saxony. Here he received the tip of simply applying for approbation from the Dresden regional council. “On the grounds that I live permanently in Saxony and had already sent off over 100 applications which were rejected due to not having approbation, I had an appointment arranged around four weeks after submission to the regional council.” A week after this important appointment, he had the approbation in his hands. The regional council made an exception with respect to the guarantee of employment, because Mr Safaissou was able to demonstrate that he had his roots in Saxony and intended to start work there.

Today, the 32 year old is very satisfied. “Once the approbation was granted, I applied to various hospitals in Saxony and, in the end, the Helios hospital in Leisnig offered me a visiting physician programme and I was subsequently appointed. My wife and I have now started a family. And I also really enjoy my work.” A few months ago, Nelson Safaissou was able to move from vascular surgery to gynaecology in order to continue training in this area as a consultant. “I wanted to do that from the start. I have therefore achieved my first goal - I am now curious to see what happens next!”

The interview with Nelson Safaissou was conducted in March 2015.

My procedure in brief

  1. Nelson Safaissou from Cameroon completes his medical degree in Madagascar. Following this he wants to continue to train in Europe as a medical specialist.
  2. He comes to Germany in 2012 with his German wife. He learns German and achieves language level C1. Because he does not have approbation, he cannot find a position as a medical specialist.
  3. After contacting the IBAS advice centre in Dresden, Nelson Safaissou applies for approbation in 2013 to the Saxony regional council. However, he did not have the guarantee of employment from an employer.
  4. Following a face-to-face interview, the competent authority waived the requirement for the guarantee of employment. One week later he receives approbation.
  5. The Helios hospital in Leisnig offers him a work shadowing placement and subsequently a position. He now wants to train to become a medical specialist in gynaecology.