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Predictors of career progression and obstacles and opportunities for non-EU hospital doctors to undertake postgraduate training in Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-07, 14:51 authored by Ella Tyrrell, Conor Keegan, Niamh HumphriesNiamh Humphries, Sara McAleese, Steve Thomas, Charles Normand, Ruairi BrughaRuairi Brugha


The World Health Organization’s Global Code on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel urges Member States to observe fair recruitment practices and ensure equality of treatment of migrant and domestically-trained health personnel. However, international medical graduates (IMGs) have experienced difficulties in accessing postgraduate training and in progressing their careers in several destination countries. Ireland is highly dependent on IMGs, but also employs non-European Union (EU) doctors who qualified as doctors in Ireland. However, little is known regarding the career progression of these doctors. In this context, the present study assesses the determinants of career progression of non-EU doctors with particular focus on whether barriers to progression exist for those graduating outside Ireland compared to those who have graduated within.


The study utilises quantitative data from an online survey of non-EU doctors registered with the Medical Council of Ireland undertaken as part of the Doctor Migration Project (2011–2013). Non-EU doctors registered with the Medical Council of Ireland were asked to complete an online survey about their recruitment, training and career experiences in Ireland. Analysis was conducted on the responses of 231 non-EU hospital doctors whose first post in Ireland was not permanent. Career progression was analysed by means of binary logistic regression analysis.


While some of the IMGs had succeeded in accessing specialist training, many experienced slow or stagnant career progression when compared with Irish-trained non-EU doctors. Key predictors of career progression for non-EU doctors working in Ireland showed that doctors who qualified outside of Ireland were less likely than Irish-trained non-EU doctors to experience career progression. Length of stay as a qualified doctor in Ireland was strongly associated with career progression. Those working in anaesthesia were significantly more likely to experience career progression than those in other specialities.


The present study highlights differences in terms of achieving career progression and training for Irish-trained non-EU doctors, compared to those trained elsewhere. However, the findings herein warrant further attention from a workforce planning and policy development perspective regarding Ireland’s obligations under the Global Code of hiring, promoting and remunerating migrant health personnel on the basis of equality of treatment with the domestically-trained health workforce.


Irish Health Research Board: HRA_HSR/2010/18



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Published Citation

Tyrrell E, Keegan C, Humphries N, McAleese S, Thomas S, Normand C, Brugha R. Predictors of career progression and obstacles and opportunities for non-EU hospital doctors to undertake postgraduate training in Ireland. Human Resources for Health. 2016;14(Suppl 1):23.

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology

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