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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Report Examines Unfair Labor and Recruitment Strategies, Including Health Care Sector

Dr. Patricia (Polly) Pittman, an associate professor of health policy and management at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH), examines the international recruitment of nurses and other workers, including health care workers, in a paper published online in February in the journal International Migration Review (IMR).

Pittman, Polly
[Photo: Photo: Dr. Patricia Pittman]

International recruitment of nurses and other workers is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact, according to the paper. In the United States the growth of employment agencies is cause for special concern because these agencies often recruit low-income health care workers from undeveloped counties who have limited employment options. As the practice continues to grow, there have been widespread abuses, including outright fraud and deception — as well as contracts that require the worker to pay back large sums, Dr. Pittman says.

In the paper, Pittman points out there are promising new strategies that could reduce unfair or abusive recruitment and labor practices. She goes on to say that greater regulatory efforts and other initiatives to protect workers must be put in place rapidly, especially if the United States is to continue to fill gaps in the healthcare workforce, including a nursing shortage in a subset of states. Read the study published in the International Migration Review, “Alternative Approaches to the Governance of Transnational Labor Recruitment.”