Searching for the Global Standard Recruitment and Employment of Border-Crossing Nurses and Care Workers: Findings and Recommendations Based on Fieldwork in the Asia-Pacific and Europe

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Shun OHNO , Seisen University, Tokyo, Japan
Most developed countries are faced with major demographic problems such as increasing aging populations and rapidly declining birth rates. Parallel to these same phenomena, governments have accelerated the introduction of nursing and care workforces from abroad in order to fill the shortage of domestic nurses and elderly-caregiving workers. However, such cross-cultural and transnational care projects are not easy for each host country, and employers have to consider the challenges of hiring overseas-born workers who come from various educational backgrounds and care cultures, and speak other languages as mother tongues.

   The author investigated the problems of transnational care especially in the case of the Japanese government’s project to accept Southeast Asian nurses and caregiving workers under Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) concluded with the governments of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. He explored some structural flaws and faults of the EPA project, and then explains how this led to a broader investigation to research alternative policies and programs adopted by some governments in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

   This paper presents a critical evaluation of Japan’s EPA project based on the research team’s various surveys in Japanese hospitals and care facilities as well as Filipino/Indonesian nurses and care workers in Japan. Then, it examines the Asian and Western trend of governmental policies on migrant nurses and care workers, and makes some recommendations towards the establishment of a potentially sustainable Japanese model.  It finally discusses the possibility for a global standard recruitment and employment system for border-crossing nurses and care workers.