Migration of healthcare workers from developing countries

By 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts a significant deficit of approximately 10 million healthcare workers, predominantly affecting low- and lower-middle-income nations. Some countries suffer from chronic underinvestment in the education and training of healthcare professionals, leading to ongoing shortages. Additionally, there is often a disconnect between education and employment strategies concerning healthcare systems and the actual needs of the population. This mismatch further contributes to the scarcity of healthcare workers.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal there was a shortage of 15 million health workers as at 2020. Compounding the issue is the difficulty in deploying healthcare professionals to rural, remote, and underserved regions. These areas face additional obstacles in attracting and retaining skilled healthcare workers. The situation may vary across different regions and countries, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems has further exacerbated the shortage.

In the last few years, the escalating international migration of healthcare workers from developing countries has worsened the shortage, especially in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Poor working conditions and low wages and insecurity have forced many health workers to seek out greener pastures in countries where the doctor and health worker welfare is prioritized. In this article, we bring the list of top countries where health workers migrate to and how much they are paid.


Top Countries Doctors and Health Workers Migrate To and How Much They Are Paid 

The migration of health workers is a worldwide phenomenon that has significant implications for both countries of origin and destinations. This article sheds light on the top countries where health workers migrate to and provides insights into their compensation packages. Discover the hotspots for healthcare professionals and the remuneration they receive in these sought-after destinations.


  1. United States: The United States consistently ranks as one of the most popular destinations for health workers seeking new opportunities. The country offers competitive salaries, with physicians earning an average of $313,000 per year, while registered nurses can expect to make around $75,000 annually. These attractive wages, combined with advanced healthcare facilities, make the US a top choice for professionals in the medical field. States in America are enacting laws to allow foreign health workers including doctors to bypass residency programs due to worsening shortages.


  1. United Kingdom: With its prestigious healthcare system, the United Kingdom has long been a magnet for health workers worldwide. Doctors in the UK earn an average salary of £100,000 ($136,000) per year, while nurses receive around £33,000 ($45,000) annually. In addition to decent compensation, healthcare professionals are drawn to the UK for its high-quality training and career advancement opportunities. According to a 2022 report, NHS England recruited a total of 26,321 doctors. Among them, 12,148 individuals, accounting for 46 percent of the total, were foreign nationals.


  1. Canada: Known for its inclusive healthcare system, Canada is highly appealing to health workers seeking work-life balance and excellent compensation. Physicians in Canada earn an average of $339,000 CAD ($268,000 USD) annually, while registered nurses can make approximately $80,000 CAD ($63,000 USD) per year. Furthermore, Canada’s diverse culture and welcoming environment make it an attractive destination for healthcare professionals from around the globe. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada has created a short path for foreign doctors to practice medicine in the country.


  1. Australia: Australia has emerged as a popular destination for health workers due to its attractive wages and high living standards. Physicians in Australia can expect to earn an average of AUD 150,000 ($111,000) per year, while nurses earn around AUD 60,000 to AUD 90,000 ($44,000 to $66,000) annually, depending on their experience. The country’s robust healthcare infrastructure, alongside its captivating natural beauty, makes it a desirable choice for many health professionals.


  1. United Arab Emirates: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has rapidly become a prominent destination for health workers in recent years. With its booming healthcare sector and tax-free salaries, the UAE offers an attractive package to professionals in the medical field. Physicians in the UAE can earn an average of AED 420,000 ($114,000) per year, while nurses make approximately AED 90,000 to AED 120,000 ($24,500 to $32,700) annually. The lure of working in state-of-the-art medical facilities and experiencing the vibrant culture of the UAE draws healthcare workers from various backgrounds.


  1. Germany: A Thriving Healthcare Landscape Germany has gained prominence as a top destination for healthcare professionals due to its advanced medical infrastructure and attractive compensation packages. Physicians in Germany enjoy competitive salaries, with average earnings ranging from €50,000 to €100,000 per year. Registered nurses can expect to earn around €30,000 to €50,000 annually. Additionally, Germany’s focus on research and innovation provides ample opportunities for professional development. A report released in 2023 by the National Institute for Health stated that Germany is in dire need of qualified nurses as it has been unable to fill up about 520,000 full time vacancies for nurses.


  1. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia, with its booming healthcare sector and generous compensation, has become an enticing destination for health professionals seeking rewarding career opportunities. Healthcare professionals in Saudi Arabia can enjoy substantial financial benefits, including tax-free income. Physicians working in Saudi Arabia can earn an average annual salary ranging from $80,000 to $300,000, depending on their specialization and experience. Registered nurses receive competitive salaries as well, with average earnings ranging from $30,000 to $80,000 per year. This tax-free income allows workers in the healthcare industry to maximize their earnings and secure a stable financial future.



Healthcare workers worldwide are drawn to countries that offer not only financial rewards but also promising career prospects. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Germany have emerged as prime destinations, providing attractive compensation packages to healthcare professionals. These countries understand the value of skilled healthcare workers and strive to create an environment that fosters personal and professional growth. By recognizing these top destinations and their compensation offerings, we gain a deeper understanding of the global healthcare workforce dynamics and the factors influencing healthcare professionals’ migration choices.

error: Protected Content!!