In recent years, health care institutions in prosperous countries have discovered India as a new source country for recruiting well-trained, English-speaking nurses. Much of this recruitment is targeted in a few geographic areas and some of the best hospitals in India are reportedly experiencing mass resignation and exodus of nurses to hospitals abroad. At the same time, Indian hospitals have engaged in “business process outsourcing” (BPO) to take advantage of this phenomenon. They recruit and train Indian nurses and prepare them to take the foreign nurse examinations.
New Delhi in north India, and Bangalore and Kochi in the south have emerged as the three main recruiting hubs. Delhi-based agencies tend to focus on the U.S. market, while those in Kochi and Bangalore are mainly facilitating migration of nurses to other destinations like the Gulf countries, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The licensing and visa processes to these different countries vary markedly and require significant knowledge of the system. For example, waiting period for migrating to the United Kingdom has been as short as 6 months, whereas for the United States it is up to 2 years. Of note, however, is that in Delhi, over half the migrating nurses are also originally from the south of the country.
Based on media reports on the two southern hubs and the number of nurses taking the CGFNS examinations, our best estimate for Bangalore was that between 5,000 and 6,000 nurses have left in the last 2 years, while from Kochi they numbered between 3,000 and 4,000. In Delhi in north India, we estimated that 10,000 have migrated.
Indian recruiting agencies that partner with the U.S. recruiters have mushroomed in Delhi since 2003.
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