Diaspora as insurance against health crises and the death of employer-sponsored visas

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from: 13:30
to: 15:00

Join this seminar that will address diasporas in public health crises and assess alternative options for regulating migrant worker selection.

The diaspora as insurance against public health crises

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly health professionals can come under high pressure in public health crises: while patient numbers increase steeply, fewer staff is available as many health professionals are themselves affected.

The presenter Friedrich Poeschel explores the potential of health professionals in a country’s diaspora, as a reserve for times of crisis. Temporarily returning emigrants might be much easier to absorb into the health system than other migrants. Using country-level data sets on the current health workforce (WHO) and on health workforce migration (OECD), indicators are developed for a wide range of countries, separately for doctors and nurses. Not only a higher number of health professionals in a country’s diaspora – relative to its current health workforce – but also a wider geographical distribution make it more likely that a substantial number are available to return temporarily during a crisis. In practice, such temporary returns would most likely be arranged through bilateral agreements. The presenter offers concrete suggestions which bilateral agreements could most effectively insure countries against a shortage of health professionals during the next public health crisis.

The death of employer-sponsored visas? Assessing alternative options for regulating migrant worker selection

Employer-sponsored visas have become an increasingly important mechanism for regulating migrant worker selection in many countries. These visas can be an effective and efficient way of ensuring migrant workers gain employment and for matching them to employers with skills and labour shortages. However, by effectively tying sponsored migrants to a single employer, employer-sponsored visas are often associated with problems of workers being exploited and mistreated.

The presenter Chris F. Wright draws upon evidence from several research projects conducted in Australia to examine the benefits and disadvantages of employer-sponsored visas and explores various alternative options to employer sponsorship. He considers two alternative proposals for regulating migrant worker selection: industry sponsorship and mobility visas.


Friedrich Poeschel (European Academy);

Chris F. Wright (University of Sydney and King’s College London).


Stephanie Acker (Migration Policy Centre, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies).