Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

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This report describes recent trends in the international migration of doctors and nurses in OECD countries. Over the past decade, the number of doctors and nurses has increased in many OECD countries, and foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors and nurses have contributed to a significant extent. New in-depth analysis of the internationalisation of medical education shows that in some countries (e.g. Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States) a large and growing number of foreign-trained doctors are people born in these countries who obtained their first medical degree abroad before coming back. The report includes four case studies on the internationalisation of medical education in Europe (France, Ireland, Poland and Romania) as well as a case study on the integration of foreign-trained doctors in Canada.


Brain gain and waste in Canada: Physicians and nurses by place of birth and training

This chapter documents changes from 2006 to 2016 in the number of physicians, registered nurses (RNs) and practical nurses (PNs) in Canada. It identifies those working in each occupation as well as those reporting relevant educational credentials but not working in the occupation. The number of practicing physicians and PNs grew at double the rate of the total workforce, whereas practicing RNs only grew at one-third that rate. The high physician growth rate was a result of education and immigration policies intended to address perceptions of increasing physician shortages. In contrast, the low RN and high PN growth rates likely reflect a shift to lower cost PNs with no growth in total nursing relative to the workforce. The growth rate of foreign-born, foreign-trained professionals working in all three professions was larger than the relevant occupation’s average growth rate. Despite this, the percentage of foreign-born, foreign-trained individuals not working in their trained profession also increased for physicians and RNs. The net effect is that the percentage of foreign-born, foreign-trained potential physicians and RNs working in their profession declined. This “brain waste” reflects mismatches between health and immigration policies.



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