International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 4: The international migration of health professionals

Michel Grignon, Yaw Owusu and Arthur Sweetman


International migration by health professionals is an area of increasing policy interest. Shortages of medical personnel in several developed countries are perceived to be central drivers of this phenomenon, and there are critical ramifications for developing countries (for example, the World Health Organization – WHO, 2006). After a period of perceived excess supply in many developed countries during the 1990s, more recent years have seen an increased demand for health professionals, a growing concern about the need to provide healthcare services to aging populations, and an increasing focus on health human resources more generally. The International Migration Outlook (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD, 2007a) identifies ‘several international initiatives . . . formulating policy recommendations to overcome the global health workforce crisis’ (p. 162). In response to these flows, in 2010 the WHO adopted a global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel with a focus on ethics and protecting less-developed sending countries (WHO, 2010). Aligned with this initiative, several developed countries have devised their own protocols regarding the ethics of international health professional migration (for example, Canadian Federal/Provincial/Territorial ACHDHR, 2009; Norwegian Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, 2007; UK Department of Health, 2011).

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