International Trends in Healthcare Relocation

The healthcare sector has experienced unprecedented change in recent years. Beyond the pandemic, the world of healthcare is becoming more flexible thanks to the integration of technology. From drug discovery using machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to remote services (such as online appointments and virtual wards) technology is creating a range of…


The growing shortage of medical practitioners and increase in the cost of in-person healthcare mean that remote healthcare services are forecast to increase.

The worldwide shortage of healthcare professionals is set to reach 10 million by 2030 (World Economic Forum), primarily in low- and middle-income countries.

The flow of healthcare migration

Many wealthy countries are actively recruiting health workers from the developing world to replenish their health systems. The share of foreign-trained doctors ranges from less than 3% in a number of OECD countries, to around 40% in Norway, Ireland, or New Zealand, and to nearly 60% in Israel. (OECD)

A survey by Promedical shows that 56% of the doctors moved due to lifestyle and family issues, while 12% moved due to unconducive working environments. 

“We have absolutely seen an increase in international migration,” said Howard Catton, the chief executive of the International Council of Nurses. “The high, high risk is that you are recruiting nurses from countries that can least afford to lose their nurses.”

The impact on international relocations

With greater migration of healthcare workers, the need for specialist pre-assignment services are predicted to increase. Relocation service providers must be fully aware of the following requirements for host countries when relocating healthcare workers:

1. Tax Requirements

The tax system of the destination country is a major issue if healthcare workers are considering an international relocation. The UK tax rules, for example, are off-putting for some higher level healthcare professionals. It’s important that assignees understand the tax laws, always stay compliant and minimise their tax liability.

2. Immigration

To entice workers to their countries, some governments fast track their immigration system for healthcare professionals entering their countries. Each host country has its own requirement for documentation such as permits, visas and work authorisation papers.

3. International Recruitment Incentives

Some governments have launched special incentives to encourage healthcare worker relocations to their countries.  For example, the UK government operates a Health and Care Worker visa shortage occupation list. This enables people in these roles to be recruited from overseas. £15 million is being made available during 2023 – 2024 to help support international recruitment within the adult social care sector.

4. Global Networks

The countries offering the most lucrative career opportunities for overseas health workers are:

  • United Kingdom – the top choice for young healthcare workers from India looking to move overseas.
  • Israel – the country has a severe shortage in the number of nurses.
  • New Zealand – overseas workers are lured by the work-life balance available.
  • Republic of Ireland – where overseas healthcare workers can choose to work in the public sector or private hospitals.
  • Norway – a hurdle for foreign workers is that they must demonstrate their proficiency in the local language.

(Dynamic Health Staff)

Relocation providers need an established, efficient network to facilitate global relocations into these countries. BTR has proven partners across the globe to ensure all the relocations we manage are seamless with minimal stress.

Are you recruiting overseas workers for your organisation?

Would you value support to ensure your assignees relocation takes place as efficiently and cost effectively as possible?

Talk to the friendly team at BTR. Our experts actively work within healthcare (see our case study) as well as other sectors. Contact us without cost or obligation. We’re here to help.

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