Filipino nurse migration trends up and Indian down

21 October 2016

Nurses from the Philippines were this year once again New Zealand's biggest source of new overseas qualified nurses, according to the latest Nursing Council statistics

Two years an upsurge in nurse migration from India saw India over take the Philippines as the dominant source of internationally qualified nurses (IQNs) but numbers registered have since fallen steadily 

The overall number of IQNs registered in 2015-16 was slightly lower than previous years at 1134 (the peak in recent years was 1391 in 2014) but total registrations for the year remained high because of a record number of 1841 New Zealand-trained new graduates registered. (A further 163 enrolled nurses were registered – 19 from overseas and the rest New Zealand trained.)

Carolyn Reed, chief executive of the Nursing Council, said the figures showed that the overall pattern of nurses migrating to New Zealand was fairly stable.  "Numbers from the Philippines are increasing and from India decreasing.  We don't have an explanation for this."

More than a decade ago New Zealand registered around 800 nurses a year from the UK and around 150 each from India and the Philippines.  The numbers of migrant nurses from the UK were already declining before the 2008-2009 recession saw numbers slump and a shift to India and then the Philippines becoming our largest source of migrant nurses.

Numbers of UK-trained nurses registering in New Zealand in 2015-16 for the first time fell to less than 100 at just 92.  Australia is New Zealand's fourth highest source of overseas trained nurses with between 85-95 registered here each year.

Nurses from the Philippines made up 55 per cent of the 1153 IQNs registered in 2015-16 with 643 registered compared to 504 the previous year.

The number of Indian IQN nurses registered was 232 (20%) – down on the peak of 509 in 2013-14.

After the United Kingdom and Australia the next highest sources of nurses were Canada (19), United States (17), Ireland (10), South Africa (10), Singapore (5) and 40 from a variety of other nations.

The Council said it received 1573 applications from IQNs in 2015-2016 year of which it had registered 1153 and declined 31. Overseas trained nurses continue to make up around 25 per cent of the active New Zealand nursing workforce.



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