Immigrant health workers in OECD countries in the broader context of highly skilled migration
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, case study
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This report, authored by Jean Christophe Dumont and Pascal Zurn, aims to address lack of evidence on international migration of highly skilled health workers to OECD countries, in order to inform policy dialogue at national and international levels.
Descriptive statistics are provided on migrant health workers, in terms of both origin and destination country. On average, 11% of employed nurses and 18% of employed doctors in the OECD were foreign-born circa 2000, but there was important variance across countries. Foreign-born health workers play an important role in ensuring service continuity. The role of regulation and accreditation in shaping immigration flows are discussed.
While there is a legitimate concern about the consequences of migration on origin countries, especially for lower income countries, the global health workforce crisis goes far beyond the migration issue. Migration forces are however contributing to exacerbating the problem, in particular for some low-income origin countries.
Solutions rest on the adoption of multiple strategies: recent trends in increasing development assistance for health and the drive towards the development of an international code on recruitment of health personnel are steps in the right direction, but they need to be accompanied by efforts to improve training and management capacity.