The Dynamics of Health Workforce Migration in the Asia-Pacific Region

Prof. Lesleyanne Hawthorne

Health workforce mobility has received growing attention since 2006 from global bodies including the World Health Organization, the OECD, the International Organization of Migration, and the International Labor Organization. It has simultaneously become an urgent policy issue for both sending and receiving countries, in a context where much remains unknown concerning its dynamics and actual impacts. Drawing on four 2014-17 studies completed by Hawthorne for WHO and ILO, and an ARC funded 2016-19 Australia-Canada project, this paper defines transforming trends in health workforce migration across the Asia-Pacific region for permanent, temporary and former international student migrants. It examines changing mobility modes for doctors and nurses, the scale of flows, the impact on sending and receiving countries, and the extent to which migrant health professionals are able to use their skills in OECD destinations (including registration and employment outcomes in Australia, Canada and New Zealand).