Factors influencing the migration intention of health professionals in low and middle income countries: Critical review with a theoretical model


  • Sara Hajian Preventive Dentistry Research Center, Research Institute of Dental Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Shahram Yazdani School of Medical Education, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • MohammadPooyan Jadidfard School of Dentistry, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Mohammad Hossein Khoshnevisan Preventive Dentistry Research Center, Research Institute of Dental Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.





Migration of healthcare workers could result in shortage of human resources and rising inequalities in service provision in resource poor countries. The aim of this review was to determine the factors influencing the migration decisions of medical and dental graduates migrating from low- and middle-income countries as well as introducing a practical model for health professional’s migration.


Google Scholar and PubMed were searched together with relevant journals for English studies from January 2005 to January 2020. The original studies which evaluated the motivational factors of dental and medical graduates migrating from low or middle income countries were included. The migration model was developed by investigating the factors and frameworks of selected studies.


Twenty-five articles were met the inclusion criteria. Push and pull theory was the most popular way to describe the driving factors of migration. These factors were classified into three macro-, meso- and micro-level with eight key domains.  Poor income, unfavorable socio-economic situation, political instability, lack of professional and educational opportunities together with family and personal concerns found as strong common reasons perpetuating migration.


Despite the fact that health workers migrate for different reasons, they follow a same route for decision to stay or leave their home countries. Un-fulfillment of expectations in mother land in addition to media reconstructed reality of life in foreign land can develop a positive attitude for better quality of life improvement after migration. Once individuals could overpass their national identity and barriers of migration, the final decision toward migration would be more feasible.


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How to Cite

Hajian, S., Yazdani, S., Jadidfard, M., & Khoshnevisan, M. H. (2020). Factors influencing the migration intention of health professionals in low and middle income countries: Critical review with a theoretical model. Journal of Contemporary Medical Sciences, 6(6), 256–261. https://doi.org/10.22317/jcms.v6i6.897

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