Nepalese health workers’ migration to the United Kingdom: A qualitative study

Toya N. Sapkota, Edwin van Teijlingen, Padam P. Simkhada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: International migration of health workers is a controversial issue globally. It has both negative and positive impact on both source and destination countries. The shortfall of health workers in the developed countries has led to the accusation of poaching health workers from the developing countries where health care systems are struggling. The causes and consequences of health workers' migration vary in different countries. Aim: This study explored the reasons why a group of Nepalese health workers migrated to the United Kingdom (UK). Method and Material: A qualitative study was conducted comprising 15 semi-structured interviews with six Nepalese doctors and nine nurses who had migrated to the UK. Respondents were selected using the snowballing technique and a thematic analysis was employed. Results: The major push factors mentioned included: low pay and conditions, political instability, poor work place security, lack of recognition, fear of placements in remote and rural areas of Nepal, unemployment, corruption, and lack of skill development opportunities. The pull factors included: increasing access to global labour market, better pay, opportunities, resources and living standard. Moreover, 'peer-group influence' and psychosocial factors were important issues for Nepalese health workers migrating to the UK. Conclusion: Health workers migration is part of the increasing global trend of general migration and only managed migration, bilateral efforts and long-term policies can minimize the adverse consequences of the health workers migration in both the source and the destination countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Science Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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