Just one in five migrant nurses planning to stay
By Muiris Houston
The Irish Times, December 15, 2009
Just one in five migrant nurses working in the Republic plans to stay here, with many planning to move to Canada or Australia, new research has confirmed.
It also reveals that issues related to citizenship and immigration procedures are key factors in whether these nurses will stay or leave Ireland.
A survey of 337 migrant nurses in Ireland, undertaken between February and July 2009 by the Nurse Migration Project at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) also found that 20 per cent of non- EU nurses have formally applied to An Bord Altranais to have their data 'verified', a process signifying serious intent to migrate.
In 2008, verifications were sought on behalf of 1,885 nurses from India and 261 nurses from the Philippines, a figure that equates to one-fifth of all non- EU nurses who were newly registered here between 2000 and 2008.
During the same period, HSE-driven recruitment campaigns succeeded in bringing 11,288 non-EU nurses into the Irish health system.
Some 45 per cent of these professionals were from the Philippines, with another 45 per cent coming from India and 2 per cent from Nigeria.
'If these nurses were to emigrate (as is their intention), it would represent a significant loss to the Irish health system, as the number exceeds the annual number of nurse graduates in Ireland,' researcher Dr Niamh Humphries said.
The research was funded by the Health Research Board, and led by Prof Ruairi Brugha of the division of population health sciences at RCSI.
It also revealed that while 91 per cent of those surveyed stated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life in Ireland, 74 per cent agreed the economic recession had had an impact on their levels of satisfaction.
Although 80 per cent held permanent posts in the health system, just 7 per cent had acquired Irish citizenship, the survey found.
'I am here almost 10 years and up to now my status is still uncertain,' one respondent said.
'I fear that if the economy gets worse the Irish government will decide to send us all home. Its very hard to apply/get approved for citizenship, unlike other countries.'
According to the authors, migrant nurses are experienced, specialist nurses who are familiar with the workings of our health system.
'They would not be easily replaced, either by new graduates or by new international recruits,' they conclude.
EDITORS NOTE: The RCSI report is available online at: http://epubs.rcsi.ie/ephmart/3/