Motivations of nurses who migrate to Canada as domestic workers

B. Salami, S. Nelson, L. Hawthorne, C. Muntaner, L. Mcgillis Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While some trained nurses migrate to destination countries to work as domestic workers, little is known about their migration motivations. Aim: This study explores the motivations of Philippine educated nurses who migrated to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program from 2001 to 2011 (a Canadian domestic worker programme). Methods: A single case study qualitative methodology and the transnational feminist concept of global care chains were utilized for this study. Interviews of 15 Philippine educated nurses who migrated to Canada as domestic workers were conducted in the province of Ontario, Canada, between February to October 2012. All participants had a baccalaureate degree from the Philippines. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using critical discourse analysis, aided by NVIVO 10 data analysis software. Results: Findings reveal a multi-step immigration process in which nurses migrate from the Philippines to the Middle East (especially Saudi Arabia) and finally to Canada. While emigration from the Philippines is mainly economically driven, migration from the Middle East to Canada is primarily motivated by the desire for Canadian citizenship for the family. Also, perceived social status and lifestyle in Canada as compared to the Middle East motivates this group of women to migrate to Canada. Limitation: The major limitation of this study is the lack of input from nursing policy makers. Conclusion: Gender-based familial ideologies and perspective on social status influence the migration decision of this group of nurses. Implications for Nursing and Health Policy: Implications for nursing and health policy makers include the provision of clear pre-migration information (including on the nursing registration process) to internationally educated nurses, advocacy for stronger immigration policies to ensure the integration of internationally educated nurses and a consideration of gender in all health human resource policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-486
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 International Council of Nurses.


  • Canada
  • Case Study
  • Domestic Workers
  • Home Care
  • Immigration
  • Internationally Educated Nurse
  • Live-in Caregivers
  • Nurse Migration
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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