India once again NZ’s biggest migrant nurse source

2 July 2014

Nurses from India are again New Zealand’s biggest source of overseas qualified nurses, with migrant nurses from the United Kingdom at an all-time low.

A decade ago, New Zealand registered around 800 nurses a year from the UK and around 150 each from India and the Philippines.

The number of nurses registering from the UK steadily declined over the decade, then slumped markedly in 2009 with the impact of the recession and tighter registration criteria. Registrations from the UK have now dropped to a new low of just 128 nurses.

Registrations from the Philippines and India at the same time have been steadily growing, with India for the first time overtaking the UK as New Zealand’s largest source of migrant nurses in 2009 and then the Philippines for the following three years.

Provisional figures from the Nursing Council show in the year to March 31 2014 India was again our top source of nurses registered with 509 nurses, followed by Philippines with 339, the UK 128, and Australia 84. On average, New Zealand is now registering 1200–1300 overseas nurses a year after peaking at about 1700 overseas registrations a decade ago.

Reed says the Council doesn’t really know what is behind the decline in UK enrolment and is unsure whether there has been less active recruiting in the UK by district health boards than in the past.

 “From my perspective, what I see is a really strong commitment to grow our own graduates or employ our own graduates at least unless it is an advanced position where you need some overseas expertise.”