Training 'expendable' workers: Temporary foreign workers in nursing

Alison Taylor, Jason Foster, Carolina Cambre

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to explore the experiences of Temporary Foreign Workers in health care in Alberta, Canada. In 2007-2008, one of the regional health authorities in the province responded to a shortage of workers by recruiting 510 health-care workers internationally; most were trained as Registered Nurses (RNs) in the Philippines. However, the Association of RNs required them to complete an assessment, and in many cases, to complete further training leading to an examination before they could actually work as RNs in the province. Furthermore, economic recession and restructuring of the health authority meant that many of the short-term contracts were not renewed, despite initial promises made by recruiters. This article looks at the assessment of foreign credentials and processes that followed as a part of the vocational education and training system that is often ignored. Drawing on social closure theories, we look at the experiences of foreign workers whose positions are extremely precarious in terms of employment and residency status. Our analysis suggests that the use of temporary workers to address 'short term' labour demand has implications for the workers themselves as well as larger political, social and economic implications that need to be acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-117
Number of pages23
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2012


  • exclusion
  • foreign credentials
  • migrant worker


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