Migration and Diasporas
The labour market for overseas-educated health workers, particularly nurses, within the Asia-Pacific region has seen dramatic transformations in the past 10 years. On the demand side, the increasing long-term care needs of the ageing population as well as the success and active promotion of medical tourism boosted the labour demand in related sectors to unprecedented levels. Because of the strong propensities to overseas labour demand and migration, more and more workers in less-developed Asian countries are now attracted to take up health-related courses in the hope of working overseas. How to attract highly skilled healthcare workers in the light of growing competition has also become an urgent concern among host countries. Against these backgrounds, in these series of panels (I and II) we closely look at how stakeholders in both sending and host Asia-Pacific countries have responded to these changing international and domestic labour market trends and discuss their implications on the patterns and sustainability of nurse migration within the region.
In panel I, the international migration behavior of nurses from Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines and Nepal are discussed. Particularly, it looks at their patterns of migration and job retention in their current place of work, either at home (in the case of Myanmar) or overseas destination. In the first presentation, Oda analyzes how Indonesian nurses and care workers who came under a government-to-government agreement consider Japan as a destination, particularly their motivations as well as their decision to leave and desire to return to this country. Carlos, on the other hand, looks at the same issue in the case of Philippine-educated nurses working in the long-term care sector and argues that Japan’s current foreign health worker policies may serve as rather shortsighted solutions to a persistent problem. The third presentation, by Olpoc, looks at the issue from the perspective of nurses who are currently working in the home country. Using survey data, he investigates the factors affecting the decision of nurses from Myanmar to stay or leave to work in other countries, particularly Japan. Finally, Adhikari discusses the migration patterns of nurses educated in Nepal and shows how nurses from emerging source countries respond to changing policies in destinations. The results in these presentations have serious policy implications in the health systems of source and host countries, both of which have to deal with domestic labor shortage in health workforce.