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Global Nurse Migration

Welcome to MMA Healthcare Recruitments BLOG – Global Nurse


Today we will ask ourselves: “Why do we want to work overseas?”


So lets talk about migration, specifically, nursing migration. In this context we mean when you leave your home country to practice your nursing profession in a foreign country. You may be reading this because you are planning to work abroad and seek new adventures, meet new people, see new things, support your family, grow professionally, make more money. The reasons why nurses migrate are almost infinite. Ask yourself: “Why do I want to work overseas?” What do you think, is the difference between you and the next person, who is happy to remain where they are? Write down your reasons and talk to others who are planning to do the same or who have done it already. Our facebook page is a good place to start We have a large nursing diaspora in the UK that has been placed by MMA Recruitment from your country. Understanding the reasons why you want to work overseas are important as they will help you to make the right decisions for the right reasons.

The nurse migration stream moves predominantly from developing countries to developed countries. The Philippines is currently the largest source of migrant nurses worldwide, though India is also a big source country. Approximately 70% of nursing graduates from the Philippines move overseas. Others include the Caribbean, South Africa, Ghana, India, Korea and China. These nurses primarily migrate to the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Ireland and Saudi Arabia. Some developed countries, such as the UK and Australia, are both source (supply nurses) and recipient (receive nurses) countries.

Push and pull – Nurses are pushed by their home countries and pulled by recipient countries to migrate. This  ‘pull

ing’ force by recipient countries are created by:

  • the availability of jobs
  • opportunities for professional or career advancement
  • personal development
  • recognition of professional expertise
  • a professional work environment
  • stable socio-political environments
  • quality of life improvements
  • attractive salaries
  • social and retirement benefits


The push factors (those factors that want to make you leave your country) include:

  • low wages
  • limited career opportunities
  • limited educational opportunities
  • lack of resources to work effectively
  • unstable and/or dangerous working conditions
  • lack of social and retirement benefits
  • unsatisfactory or unstable political environment
  • prevalence of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, Malaria, TB, etc


It is a combination of both the push and pull factors that incite international nurse migration.


How does migration effect you? Lets for the moment, focus on the positive aspects of migration. The most significant as you have guessed is the improved financial situation for you and your family. For the vast majority of nurses the financial consideration is the primary factor that influences your decision. A majority of nurses worldwide are poorly compensated – particularly in developing nations. Nurses from developing nations, earn on average ten to twenty times more than they would earn in their home countries. With this increase in earnings, nurses are able to send money back to their home countries and improve the lives of their family members. Migration also has favorable effects on the source country (your home country), both short and long term. The World Bank estimated that in 2006 $232 billion of remittances were sent through formal channels (Banks) to source countries. Unrecorded remittances through informal channels may conservatively add another 50% ($116). The nurse diaspora contributes to the welfare of the families left behind as well as the national economy of their country of origin. Other positive benefits of migration to the source country includes the development of transnational connections and partnerships. Moreover, when nurses return to their home countries, they bring with them enhanced skills and new ideas. This builds on the self-confidence of their home healthcare practice.

Traveling to work overseas may not be for everybody. By looking at the push and pull factors discussed earlier you can start to consider if those pull factors are some of the reasons you like to work abroad, or if the push factors in your home country compel you to take action and consider working overseas for the first time. It is certainly easier today to migrate. Most recruitment systems are streamlined to make the whole process as painless as possible. Advancing technology also allows us to communicate easily across the world in a variety of ways

There are also challenges – The challenges of migration are listed below:

  • The process of requalification – in this case register with the

    Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

  • The cost of the physical transfer to another country
  • Adapting to different clinical practices
  • Time-consuming and costly immigration procedures
  • Language requirements (IELTS Academic for UKVI score of 7)
  • Leaving your family
  • Adjusting to a new culture, environment


When we look at these challenges, and weigh them against the benefits discussed earlier (the pulling factors) we can make an informed decision about our desire to migrate. Importantly, it is based on these very challenges, that MMA Recruitment has put a robust system in place, to support and guide our adventurous nurses and make the process as smooth as possible. From the minute you approach us, we provide you with step by step instructions along your entire registration and relocation journey. This support continues long after your final placement at your new job.


Nurses on the Move: A Global Overview, Mireille Kingma, Health

Research & Educational Trust, 2007

Benefits and caveats of international nurse migration,

Hongyan Lietal, ScienceDirect, International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 2014

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