Crossing Borders: An exploration of migrant professional workforce dynamics

The challenge of a mobile, professional social work workforce, successfully managing the demands of service-users, policy makers and the public at large in different countries across the globe, provides an unprecedented opportunity for social work educators.

Begun in 2009, the Crossing Borders research programme explores the dynamics, opportunities and challenges of the increasingly transnational social work profession.

Projects currently underway

Crossing Borders - Coming Home: The experiences of New Zealand social workers who have returned to professional practice at home after practising overseas

Participate in survey 

This is an anonymous survey for New Zealand-qualified social workers who have returned to New Zealand after having practised social work in another country. The research question underpinning this study is: What are the views of New Zealanders who have returned home to practice as they reflect on their overseas practice and any positive or negative experiences of coming home?

The survey will be ‘live’ until Friday 25 April.

Up-coming projects

Crossing Borders: Social work employers and managers’ perspectives of migrant social workers

This project will be exploring the experiences and perspectives of professionals who employ and manage overseas-qualified social workers practicing in New Zealand, and will be replicated in three other jurisdictions: London, Adelaide, and Hartford, CT, USA.

This project will be on-going in 2014 and 2015.

Previous project

Crossing Borders: An exploration of migrant professional workforce dynamics

This project was completed in three phases:

  1. A review of the national and international social work research literature to identify themes regarding a migrant workforce; and an examination of the characteristics of all overseas-qualified social workers then registered with the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB)
  2. A series of group interviews with key migrant social work professionals
  3. A survey of 294 migrant social workers in New Zealand to develop a profile of and identify key professional issues experienced by this population.

Project Blog

The crossing Borders team has a project blog- Crossing Borders: Migrant Professionals 

View blog here




Publications include

  • Bartley, A., Beddoe, L., Duke, J., Fouché, C., Harington, P. R. J., & Shah, R. (2011). Crossing borders: Key features of migrant social workers in New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 23(3), 16-30.
  • Bartley, A., Beddoe, L., Fouché, C. B., & Harington, P. (2012). Transnational social workers: Making the profession a transnational professional space. International Journal of Population Research, 2012 . Read here.
  • Beddoe, L., Fouché, C., Bartley, A., & Harington, P. (2011). Migrant social workers’ experience in New Zealand: Education and supervision issues. Social Work Education, 31(8), 1012-1031  DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2011.633600 Read here.
  • Fouché, C., Beddoe, L., Bartley, A., & Brenton, N. (2013). Strengths and struggles: Overseas qualified social workers’ experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand. Australian Social Work, 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2013.783604 Read here.
  • Fouché, C., Beddoe, L., Bartley, A., & de Haan, I. (2013). Enduring professional dislocation: Migrant social workers’ perceptions of their professional roles. British Journal of Social Work. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bct054. Abstract here.
  • Fouché, C. B., & Beddoe, L. (2012). Crossing borders: Migrant social workers as global professionals. In N. Hall (Ed.), Social Work Around the World V: The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. (pp. 53-64). Geneva: IFSW. Read here.

In review:

  • Fouché, C., Beddoe, L., Bartley, A., & Parkes, E. (in review) Are We Ready for Them?: Overseas-qualified social workers’ professional cultural transition. European Journal of Social Work .