Care work, migration, and citizenship: international nurses in the UK

Kim England, Caitlin Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent debates about nursing shortages in the Global North are part of a broader global nursing workforce crisis. Western governments have been increasing their recruitment of international nurses to fill their shortages, but this accelerates the global migration of nurses. The {UK} is a key node in global nurse migration. The increase in international nurse migration has profound consequences for both the sending and receiving countries, as well as implications for the health care system, and, of course, the individual nurses. In this paper, we explore recent trends in the UK's dependence on foreign-trained nurses. We use 1994-2012 data from the national register of nurses to track the admission of international nurses to the register and the countries they arrive from. During the early 2000s, there was an uptick of nurses from the Global South (notably several sub-Saharan countries, India and more recently the Philippines) and relative decline in traditional sources countries such as Australia and New Zealand. We draw on feminist care ethics to highlight the ways in which foreign-trained migrant nurses working in the UK are de-valued despite the UK's dependence on their labour and suggest rethinking citizenship in ways that are more clearly inclusive of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-574
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Nurses
  • Care work
  • Migration
  • Care ethics
  • Citizenship
  • Globalization


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