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The migration of social workers to and from the UK


Project description

This is a large project exploring the drivers of social workers for immigrating to and from the UK and their experiences of doing so. The project involves seven MA Social Work students, each studying social workers’ immigration to the UK from one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, India, Romania, South Africa, the US and Zimbabwe. Another student is researching the immigration in the other direction: UK trained social workers immigrating to Australia. 

The project explores the push and pull factors driving social workers to immigrate as well as their experiences of immigrating and integrating into new national and professional cultures. We are exploring the challenges social workers experience during their migration and the ways in which they are responding to them; How does the cultural model they have internalised in their home country – including a unique professional culture – impact on their integration in the country they have immigrated to? How do these factors impact their career progression and wellbeing?  

Call for Participants

Invitation for particiants - details

You are warmly invited to take part in a research project that will examine the immigration of foreign-trained social workers into the United Kingdom and the immigration of British social workers to Australia. This research is part of the wider study of labour and immigration.

The UK has for many years relied on social workers trained abroad to meet shortages, especially within child-protection services (Simpson, 2009; Walsh et al., 2009; Welbourne et al, 2007). In 2009 the GSCC had on its lists 7512 international social workers who were trained abroad, and their qualifications were recognized as comparable to the UK demands, and a 2011 study found that about 10 percent of UK social workers qualified abroad (Hussein, Manthrope and Stevens, 2011).

Currently, social workers practicing in Children and Families are still on the UK immigration authorities' list of "shortage occupations" and the reliance on international social workers to meet workforce shortages is expected to continue. But, despite the relatively large number of social workers involved and the impact these have on wider society, there is relatively little research exploring the immigration journeys of this group, their experiences, their unique perspective and training, as well as the obstacles they face and what can be done to help them overcome these.

Especially missing are interpretive studies that are sensitive to the specific national and cultural context in the countries of origin and its interaction with the UK professional and cultural context. As part of our research, we are interested in social workers who, before immigrating to the UK, were trained in one of the following countries: Australia, India, Romania, Canada, South-Africa, Zimbabweand the US. We are also studying British social workers who immigrated to Australia. We invite these social workers to take part in one or more of the following ways:

  1. an anonymous online questionnaire.
  2. a semi-structured interview.
  3. in a small number of cases, we plan to shadow participating social workers.

Here are the links to the questionnaire for each one of these groups:

American social workers in the UK
Australian social workers in the UK
British social workers in Australia
Canadian social workers in the UK
Indian social workers in the UK
South-African social workers in the UK
Romanian social workers in the UK
Zimbabwean social workers in the UK

Further details about this research can be found in the Participant Information Sheet that you can access here.

If you are willing to be interviewed or shadowed, please get in touch with Dr. Yohai Hakak (Yohai.hakak@brunel.ac.uk) who will connect you with the relevant student-researcher.

More Information