"They Are Here to Stay"? Foreign Nurses on Temporary Work Permits in Nova Scotia, Canada
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Foreign nurses are moving to Canada on temporary permits, and gaining employment in the Nova Scotian healthcare sector. In this dissertation, I argue that their experiences of movement and work are conditioned by a complex array of intersecting policy contexts on labour, migration and healthcare. Using ethnographic research methods, I demonstrate how these policy contexts regulate and monitor the transition of temporary foreign nurses into permanent Canadian residents, and ultimately, citizens. Throughout this complex transition, my research shows how different policy contexts operate in disjointed, unpredictable ways, creating an element of “riskiness” and ambiguity for the nurses subject to them. The decision-making processes of these nurses regarding movement and work are consistently presented in terms of chance, risk, luck, (mis)fortune and similar idioms. Leading from this riskiness are certain sentiments and dispositions produced systematically through engagement with policies. These dispositions mark the relationships of the foreign nurses with employers, colleagues, union officials, patients and clients, often but not always, to the detriment of foreign workers. These dispositions can potentially impact labour protection and solidarity, as well as career development prospects, and the impacts are gendered, classed and racialized, affecting men and women of different class and ethnic backgrounds differently.