More than 90% of nurses intend to migrate and leave HK due to political and social reasons – survey

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9th January 2021 – (Hong Kong) The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and many other countries have successively relaxed their immigration policies for Hong Kong people since last year, and migration has become a hot topic in recent years. The Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff recently conducted a survey on the intention of nurses to migrate overseas. Nearly half of the interviewees said they are considering or are in the process of emigrating overseas, and more than 90% of them are interested to leave Hong Kong due to political reasons. The Association is worried that the migration wave will cause the loss of Hong Kong’s nursing talents and further exacerbate the shortage of public medical nurses.

The Association sent physical or online questionnaires to all more than 30,000 members from 16th November to 30th November last year, and received 684 responses. Respondents covered different ranks such as registered nurses, enrolled nurses and head nurses, of whom 65% were employed by the Hospital Authority and 12% worked in private hospitals. In the survey, nearly 44% of the respondents said they were considering emigrating overseas, and nearly 10% of the respondents said they were going through the formalities of emigrating overseas. Among them, the respondents who were registered nurses, with 5 to 10 years of experience, and worked in the Hospital Authority had the highest desire to emigrate. Among the respondents with migration tendencies, 63% would choose the UK followed by Australia, accounting for 53%; the other countries were Canada, Taiwan and the United States.

Among the respondents who intend to migrate, 91% of the respondents said that they would consider migrating for political and social reasons, while 46% and 43% would choose to migrate if they wanted to improve their living conditions or improve their children’s education. Other factors such as “bad working conditions in hospitals”, “no improvement in salary and benefits”, and “the ratio of nurses to patients failed to reach one to six” have also increased nurses’ desire to emigrate.

The Association said that some colleagues at the head nurse level are about to migrate to Australia because they are concerned about political factors such as the Hong Kong National Security Law and they want their children to receive a better education. The chairman of the Association believes that the result reflects that Hong Kong will lose nurses with a certain degree of experience in the long run, leading to a situation of failure in the industry and aggravating the shortage of nurses in the public medical system in Hong Kong. He suggested that the government increase the number of nursing specialist training and nursing, introduce a half-time employment system, and introduce measures to improve the working environment of hospitals to retain nursing talents.

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