Factors influencing midwifery migration from the United Kingdom to Australia

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Within the current literature on the globalization of the healthcare workforce, it is difficult to separate the migration experience of nurses from that of midwives. As more countries are moving to offer direct entry educational programmes and provide separate registration for midwives, information specific to that professional group will be required to guide workforce planners and inform employment practice. This qualitative study tracks the migration experience of midwives moving between the UK and Australia.


A purposeful sample of 18 midwives who had migrated from the UK to one state in Australia was interviewed within a descriptive phenomenological framework. Data were analysed using thematic coding within Nvivo (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).


The strongest motivator for migration was to improve the family's lifestyle. Push factors included disillusionment with working conditions, standard of living in the UK and national politics. The majority of midwives had organized their own entry visa and employment. Most midwives had occupied senior positions in the UK but accepted employment initially within entry-level positions in Australia.


Despite both countries offering similar standards of living, the majority of midwives expected to achieve an improvement in family lifestyle in Australia. Midwives indicated they were prepared to lose professional status and seniority of position to gain a better overall lifestyle for their family. To examine the long-term sustainability of international recruitment processes, further research is indicated to examine the ongoing experience and integration of migrant midwives into the workforce in Australia.

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