ISBN 9781920596453
Pages 36
Dimensions 244 x 170mm
Published 2019
Publisher Southern African Migration Programme, South Africa
Format Paperback

Rethinking the Medical Brain Drain Narrative

by Jonathan Crush

Concerns about the negative impact of the "brain drain" of health professionals from Africa have led to a dominant narrative in which those who migrate are a permanent, and costly, loss to the country of origin and a permanent, and valuable, gain for the country of destination. In the new world of transnationalism, a global skills market, and greatly increased mobility by health professionals, it is unlikely that the traditional permanent-exodus model of the brain drain narrative adequately captures all forms of migration by South African doctors. This report first examines the temporary employment opportunities for South African doctors in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. This report draws two major conclusions: first, the dominant brain drain narrative overlooks the complex nature of South African physician migration and ignores the fact that a significant number of doctors have temporary employment experience outside the country. Second, it suggests that temporary employment overseas increases the chances of permanent emigration later.

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About the Author

Jonathan Crush

Jonathan Crush is a Professor and CIGI Chair in Global Migration and Development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town.

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