The Philippines has emerged as a leading labour-exporting country; according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), of the 9.4 million Filipinos living abroad as of 2010, 4.3 million Filipinos  are documented as living outside of the Philippines under temporary, work-related residence programmes. Accordingly, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) represent major contributors to the Philippine economy through their remitted incomes, with US$ 20.1 billion remitted in 2011 , constituting 11% of the Philippine gross domestic product for that year . Given the high demand for nursing professionals to fill overseas shortages, the nursing sector has been a major source of OFWs. From 2004 to 2010, nurses comprised an average of 19% of all emigrating Filipino professional, medical and technical workers . As a result of this “nurse brain drain,” the Philippine healthcare system has experienced negative effects, demonstrated by numerous hospital closures and high nurse turnover [5, 6].
Responding to such effects on employment, while maintaining perspective on the economic benefits of OFWs, representatives from labour, trade and healthcare have engaged in multifaceted policy dialogue. Coalescing as the Human Resources for Health Network (HRHN), this group of policy actors operates as a recommendatory body to the Philippine government, charged with developing national policy agendas and action plans . With efforts like the institutionalization of the HRHN and other formal mechanisms to manage migration for employment, the Philippine model of policy development may offer guidance to other countries, such as India and Nigeria [7, 8], that are emerging as nurse source-countries and may encounter similar shifts in workforce due to brain drain.
The goal of this study was to characterise the process by which Filipino nurse migration drives development of policies that address issues in employment, domestic healthcare and international cooperation. To achieve this goal, this study utilizes qualitative data from interviews with members of the HRHN and focus group discussions (FGDs) with Filipino nurses to create a thematic framework that: (1) highlights the impact of brain drain on nurse education and employment; (2) identifies the key elements of the process by which responsive policy is developed; and (3) conceptualises the perceived outcomes of future policy implementation.