Labour market change and the international mobility of health workers

March 2019

James Buchan
James Campbell
Ibadat Dhillon
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This working paper explores the migration and mobility of health workers. It summarises the international health care labour market, and discusses policy options to respond to a growing need for health workers.

This paper is formed of six sections:

  • Section 1 introduces the working paper.
  • Section 2 summarises the key global trends in population health and what these mean for the health workforce.
  • Section 3 examines the health labour market backdrop, with a focus on workforce mobility and migration.
  • Section 4 considers the policy context, and policy responses to tackle the skills shortages and mismatches in the health labour market.
  • Section 5 examines health workforce mobility and migration in more detail, reporting on the opportunities mobility creates. It also explains which of the available policy options meet ‘ethical’ and efficiency considerations, notably the WHO Code of Practice.
  • Section 6 looks at the key policy messages that emerge from the analysis and synthesis conducted for the paper.

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