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

Published on July 25, 2019

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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.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Executive summary
Recent trends in international mobility of doctors and nurses
Recent trends in internationalisation of medical education
The internationalisation of medical education in France
The Irish paradox: Doctor shortages despite high numbers of domestic and foreign medical graduates
International students in Polish medical schools
Romania: A growing international medical education hub
Brain gain and waste in Canada: Physicians and nurses by place of birth and training
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • In the last decade, the number and share of foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors and nurses continued to grow in most OECD countries: one in six doctors across the OECD countries studied abroad, up from one in seven a decade ago, with the number on foreign-born doctors and nurses rising by around 20%, a much higher growth rate than the overall increase of around 10%.
  • In most OECD countries, the proportion of health workers born abroad is higher than the proportion trained abroad, reflecting the fact that destination countries provide education and training to migrants who may have moved at an early age with their families or moved to pursue their university education.
  • Moreover, increasingly many foreign-trained doctors, for example, in Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States, are people born in these countries who obtained their medical degree abroad before coming back.
  • Indeed, the opportunities for and interest in studying medicine abroad are growing: for example, international medical students account for half of all medical students in Ireland, nearly a third in Romania, and a quarter in Poland.

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