Migration of professional social workers : reflections on challenges and strategies for education
Please cite as follows:
Pullen-Sansfacon, A., Spolander, g. & Engelbrecht, L. K. 2012. Migration of professional social workers : reflections on challenges and strategies for education. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 31(8);1032-1045, doi:10.1080/02615479.2011.609543.
The original publication is available at http://www.tandfonline.com
International migration of social workers has had, in recent years, a substantial influence on the political agenda of different countries in the world, and is fraught with challenges. In some countries, recruitment of internationally qualified social workers has even become an important strategy to meet staffing demands and to fill shortages in the social work profession. This paper aims to promote debate on the key role of social work educators in assisting social work students and practitioners to practise within both a national and an international context, by reflecting on specific practice examples from Canada, England and South Africa. We explore challenges, as well as possible strategies for adaptation in new contexts, such as the facilitation of additional training, globally comparable social work programmes, and the development of a stronger professional identity, based on integrated social work values. We conclude that by enabling a stronger professional identity through the development of professional virtues, social workers will be empowered to become more confident practitioners and internationally more adaptable.