15 countries in urgent need of medical practitioners

According to The British Medical Association in July 2021, “almost 50,000 extra doctors are needed to meet England’s Health needs” and it might take the NHS 25 years to do so if they are to match average staff levels in Europe. This makes the UK one of the top countries urgently in need of medical practitioners even in 2021.

To tackle the Covid-19 crisis, there was a call for doctors and nurses from various parts of the world, especially from OECD countries. Nigeria happens to be in the list of top 20 countries of origin for foreign-trained or foreign-born doctors and nurses working in OECD countries. Even with vaccinations ongoing, there is still a dire need for medical personnel in various countries across the globe. As a medical practitioner in Nigeria, now is a good time to migrate if it’s in your plans.

In truth, many African nations cannot continue to afford to lose skilled medical practitioners to western countries. As much as migrating doctors help to reduce the health human resource crisis in receiving countries, it exacerbates the problem for sending countries. But, with the health sector of countries like Nigeria on a nosedive and medical practice becoming less worthwhile, it comes as no surprise that medical practitioners and other skilled workers are leaving the shores of the country in droves.

Related: Migration Options for Unskilled Labourers in Nigeria

In 2021, the following are 15 countries in need of medical practitioners:

We will be looking at what medical practitioners they need and how many of them they need. For the amount of foreign-trained doctors presently in each of these countries, we will be using statistics curated by the world atlas.

1. The United Kingdom

Facing one of the most severe healthcare workers shortage in the world is the UK. It has tens of thousands of vacancies for health workers across streams. The Punch Nigeria, on August 12, published an article stating that “”between 2015 and July 2021, a total of 4,528 Nigerian-trained doctors have moved to the United Kingdom to practise.” This excludes those trained in the UK and who are working there.

Already, 28.30% of doctors in the UK are foreign-trained. The NHS revealed that in the first quarter of 2019-20, about 43,000 nurse posts were vacant in England , especially with Covid-19 putting a strain on all healthcare systems. As such, if you are planning to migrate, the UK is a great choice.

2. USA

Even the US’ demand for physicians is greater than its supply. According to data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the US could see an estimated shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033. According to Ross University’s School of Medicine, they are especially in need of physicians in the following specialties:

Family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, radiology, anesthesiology, pediatrics, and cardiology. 25% of doctors in the country are foreign-trained and with this need, you stand a chance.

3. Australia

By 2025, it is expected that an extra 205,900 healthcare and social assistance workers will need to be added to Australia’s workforce. Presently, 30.50% of Australia’s doctors are foreign-trained and with its rising population, it is expected that there will be a need for about 85,000 nurses by 2025. Although home to many health workers from India and Asia, it is not closed to Africans. 

It is especially open to students who wish to study and practice medicine in the country and there are a host of affordable cities to study in Australia.

It has always made up for its shortages in the healthcare system via immigration. As much as they are currently trying to get more students into vocational studies to meet their needs, it is not proving fruitful yet. Hence, immigrant doctors and nurses are still very much needed. It pays its health workers really well and provides a great working environment which makes it not only one of the countries urgently in need of medical practitioners but one of the highest paying countries for doctors.

4. Spain

Spain has a high demand for doctors presently and has numerous vacancies in its healthcare system. 9.40% of its doctors are foreign-trained but, as much as its welcoming health practitioners, there are limitations. The language barrier remains a big issue but if you speak Spanish and have a Level B2 certificate ascertaining that, you stand a good chance.

5. Canada

Canada is facing a shortage of both doctors and nurses. According to a report released by the Canadian Nurses Association, by 2022, a massive shortage of about 60,000 nurses is expected. To meet its shortages, it is bringing in healthcare practitioners from around the world. According to the World Atlas, 23.50% of its doctors are foreign-trained.

Doctors are in such huge demand that they are on the Canadian NOC list code 3113 and qualified doctors are eligible for full permanent residency in the Federal Skilled Worker Immigration Programme. By the end of this year, Canada expects to have imported at least 1,000,000 skilled migrants. You can be one of them.

Related: Top 10 In-demand Jobs in Canada for Skilled Workers

6. Luxembourg

Luxembourg is inreal need of doctors. One thing to consider though is that general practitioners and medical specialists must get a license from the Ministry of Health to practise in the country. Preference is given to those from an EU member state or a state of the European Economic Area or doctors from a third world country who already has a valid residence permit or have been granted international protection.

7. Italy

Being one of the hardest-hit countries in the world during this Covid-19 crisis, the virus left this country with a shortage of as many as 73,000 health workers… Although they are in need of healthcare professionals, they don’t exactly want foreign professionals.

According to their laws, non-Italians that can be employed in public roles, including healthcare, must be European citizens, their relatives, or foreigners with long-term residency permit called permesso di soggiorno.

8. Ireland

Already, according to world atlas, of Ireland’s doctor population, 36.10% are foreign-trained doctors who come to the country to fill up the critical gaps in their health service system. This is a viable option for you because aside from the fact that they need medical doctors, they are on the list of top countries that offer a high amount of income to doctors. 

It is also in need of nurses and midwives and is always recruiting from other countries. You can choose to work either in the public or private hospitals based on whatever you have to offer as a health worker.

9. New Zealand

According to the OECD, if they were to meet their need for medical practitioners by 2021, they would need 380 extra specialists every year. By 2030, the same report predicted that the country would need 25,000 more nurses. This is a great place to move to as a health worker because not only does it pay well, it provides one of the best working conditions in the world. Already, 42.60% of doctors are foreign-trained.

10. Israel

Israel is on the lookout for qualified nurses. Although it has a pretty high cost of living, its lucrative wages make living in the country very possible. It is home to many foreign doctors who make up about 58% of its doctor population. With a healthcare system that is on par with those of many developed countries, you will get many of the benefits present in those countries as well.

For nurses willing to consider this option, note that you will have to clear an Israeli licensing exam.

11. Switzerland

Even the city of the Red Cross is short about 10,000 nurses currently and is predicted to need 20% more by 2025. As a registered nurse, Sweden is a great option for you and pays really well. One issue you might face though is language barriers. Hence, medical practitioners looking to practice need to be able to communicate in French, German, and Italian. Presently, 27% of its doctors are foreign-trained.

12. Sweden

The Swedish healthcare system is in high demand for nurses and physicians. Like one Swedish resident said, “it’s proving to be easier to train a foreign doctor to speak Swedish than to take random speakers of Swedish and train them to be doctors.” So, if you are willing to learn a new language, consider Sweden.

13. Denmark

If you are a medical practitioner who speaks Danish, Denmark needs you. It faces a looming nursing shortage and is looking to employ 1000 overseas nurses by the end of 2021. Note that if you do not speak the local Danish language, it will be difficult to get a job there.

14. UAE

If you hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, the UAE is worth considering. Some recent changes in the rules for overseas nurses led to the churning of many nurses with a diploma certificate in nursing. This created vacancies for nurses in the UAE and you can take advantage of that.

15. Norway

Norway is facing a severe shortage of nurses. According to reports from Norway Today, in 2018, the lack of specialist nurses increased by 47% compared to previous years and with the covid-19 pandemic, it is expected that there is a much greater need now. One hurdle foreign medical practitioners have to overcome is the need to prove efficiency in the local language.

Highest Paying Countries for Doctors

As much as doctors are looking to migrate to countries in need of medical professionals, they also seek to move to places with better pay and better working conditions. The following are the highest paying countries for doctors in no particular order.

1. Luxembourg

According to the OECD, doctors in Luxembourg earn an average of $357,300 yearly. General practitioners earn up to $278,900 while specialists receive $352,300 per year. Doctors also get to enjoy other benefits such as free transportation and housing. Although it is a high-paying country for doctors, the market is very competitive because of the country’s small population. Hence, if you are looking to migrate as a doctor, it might not be such a great option except you have secured the job before relocating.

2. The Netherland

For general practitioners, they make about $117,000 yearly while specialists make roughly $253,000. Not only does this country pay its doctors well, but it also provides one of the best working conditions for doctors in the world. Doctors work shorter hours, get enough holidays, and get paid on time.

3. The US

Primary care physicians in the US make as much as $223,000 per year while specialists make $329,000. Doctors also get to grow professionally, learning new skills on the job.

4. Australia

Australia is one of the highest-paying countries for doctors in the world. Yearly, on average, it offers about $247,000 to specialists and about $91,000 to general practitioners. It also provides impressive working conditions that allow doctors to learn new techniques on the job. 

5. New Zealand

New Zealand has a private and public healthcare system. If you speak English, it’s a great place to practice medicine. Currently available estimates show that specialists can expect to receive an average of $138,000 yearly.

6. Switzerland

The government in Switzerland prioritizes healthcare in the country. It thus provides high living standards for its doctors and pays them well. On average, a specialist can earn about $130,000 yearly while general practitioners earn around $116,000. If you intend to move there, keep in mind that you might need to be multilingual as you might need to cater to people who speak French, Italian, and German.

7. Ireland

Ireland, weather aside, is a great country to move to as a medical practitioner. It made it to this list of highest paying countries for doctors for paying specialists an average of $143,000 yearly and general practitioners, about $90,000. Specialists have the option to charge a fee for consultation and more if it extends past a specified number of minutes. They thus earn more than the average pay.

8. Belgium

In Belgium, specialists earn about $188,000 on an average yearly while general practitioners earn a significantly small pay of about $61,000 on average. If you don’t mind working an average of 51 hours a week and the high tax rates, you can move there. It offers better working hours than some countries in Africa.

9. UK

The UK is a doctor’s haven especially for doctors migrating from third-world countries. Specialists get paid $174,068 on average and $85,250 to general practitioners per year. There are other benefits such as working in a conducive environment, a working healthcare system, pensions, life, and assurance benefits. With its flexible hours, doctors can choose to earn more from private practice.

10. Canada

Canada offers about $161,000 to specialists and around $107,000 to general practitioners per year. Compared to many countries around the world, that is good pay. Facing a shortage of doctors, it’s open to welcoming doctors from other countries and provides them with other appealing benefits like vacation, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, and study leave.

Wrap Up

With many countries developing an ageing workforce, a fall in the number of people entering medical professions, inadequate training, and increasing demands, now is a good time to consider migrating to any of the countries in need of medical professionals. Being skillful at what you do gives you an edge over others and makes processing your travel plans even easier.

If you are interested in practising medicine abroad, get in touch with our Urban Nomads consultants who have experience helping medical practitioners live and work in their country of choice. They are available to guide you through the process from inception to competition as soon as you start by registering on the platform and subscribing to the Japa plan. Well, all the best!

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Cover image credit: People photo created by DCStudio – www.freepik.com

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4 Comments

  1. Yes ,I am Consultant pediatrician retired but still working on part time in Charity Hospital in Chobra Cairo Egypt,I have more than 45 years in experience in medical Career , opportunity of working in 4 African Countries and one Carripean country,I am single now,I would like to come to practice medicine in New Zealanderland even in private health facility,ready to send my C.v. on request,best regards
    Samir kallini
    samirkalliniii@hotmail.com
    +201000439989

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