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There is a shortage of doctors and nurses in Sweden but medically trained asylum seekers must have their qualifications audited before they can work. Photo: TT.

Longer wait for immigrant doctors and nurses

1:02 min

Non-EU citizens applying for their medical qualifications to be recognised in Sweden face longer processing times as the number of applications increases.

A total 2,500 people with medical qualifications obtained outside the EU are expected to have applied by the end of this year, according to a new report from the Board of Health and Welfare. That is twice as many compared to three years ago.

As a consequence, the processing time is also increasing dramatically, from two to three months to around nine months today. At the same time, there is a shortage of doctors and nurses in Sweden.

"It is, of course, unfortunate,” Erik Höglund of the Board of Health and Welfare told Swedish Radio News, adding: “These people are a resource and are needed in the health-care system. It is also a problem for the individuals who don’t get the chance to practice their professions.”

"This is what we are solving with the work with the fast tracks," says Minister for Employment, Ylva Johansson, to Radio Sweden.

The government has created fast tracks into work for key professions, including doctors, nurses and teachers. Ylva Johansson says to Radio Sweden that although waiting times are up, she expects the fast track to show they have achieved results when an evaluation is presented in a few weeks.

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