Background. The nursing workforce have been at the frontline of the global COVID-19 response, and at the same time, COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities of nursing supply and exacerbated pre-existing nursing shortages. Reports show that, while the pandemic initially restricted the mobility of nurses around the world, it is now facilitating the movement of nurses as lockdown restrictions ease and international travel resume. However, little is known about what countries are doing to address nursing migration, specifically from the perspectives of major source and destination countries like the Philippines and the UK. The aim of this study is to analyse the policy response to nurse migration of each country during COVID-19. This study also looks at the impact of these policies on nursing supply and demand over the last two years (2020-2022), and some of the potential health system impact. Method. A descriptive health policy analysis was used to gain a comprehensive account of the policies enacted by each country with regards to nursing migration. This methodology used document review and secondary data analysis as the main methods, guided by an adapted conceptual framework drawn from both the health system and health labour market frameworks. Results. Each country adopted very distinct approaches to managing nursing migration. The UK encouraged the inflow of nurses through national regulatory mechanisms e.g., immigration policies, and bilateral labour agreements with multiple source countries. This has had a positive effect on the nursing workforce, characterised by large increases in the number of international nurses coming to the UK, majority of which are non-EU nationals. For the Philippines, findings show that they enacted policies which restricted the mobility of nurses by imposing annual limit on the number of nurses deployed abroad. While this has resulted in a significant reduction in the outflow of nurses, this did not translate into an increase in nursing supply, indicating no growth in the nursing workforce. Conclusion. This study demonstrates different responses to nursing migration which relates to the UK and the Philippines desire to address in-country nursing shortages amidst COVID-19. Monitoring policy responses as COVID-19 progresses will be essential to minimise negative impact and avoid worsening global inequities relating to the supply and demand of nurses.


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Queen Margaret University. 2023, 'Analysing the UK and the Philippines Policy Responses to Nursing Migration During Covid-19: A Source and Destination Country Perspective', Queen Margaret University. https://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/handle/20.500.12289/12973

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Last updated: 23 March 2023
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