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Occupation-specific analysis of migration and remittance behaviour: Pacific Island nurses in Australia and New Zealand

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Most previous empirical studies of migration and remittances ignored possible differences among occupational categories of migrants. Where human capital investment decisions and occupational choices are influenced by perceived prospects for international migration, internationally tradable occupations such as nursing are likely to attract individuals with particular attributes and with a stronger propensity to migrate. We argue that this can also affect the remittance behaviour of such occupational groups, pointing to the need for a disaggregated analysis by occupational category. This paper reports the results of a recent survey of nurses in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, and nurse migrants from the same countries in Australia and New Zealand. We also report the findings from a re-analysis of earlier remittance data from Tongan and Samoan migrants in Australia. Nurse household remittance behaviour is statistically different from others, with nurses remitting more generously and consistently over time. The reasons and implications are explored. The impact and volume of nurse remittances emphasise the sustainability of the migration, remittances, aid and bureaucracy (MIRAB) system.
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Keywords: Pacific Islands; brain drain; human capital; migration; nurse; remittance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Economics, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane 4072, Australia., Email: [email protected] 2: School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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