Women have the most significant share in unemployment figures
Unprecedented migration of female nurses from Iran; women have the most significant share in unemployment figures.
State media in Iran report an unprecedented migration of female nurses. “Women have the largest share in unemployment figures and are a potential migration population in Iran,” according to Iran’s Migration Observatory (The state-run Armanmeli Daily – January 25, 2022).
Many female nurses have canceled their contracts due to excessive pressure, being away from their children and families, and the stresses caused by those conditions.
Female nurses are more willing to emigrate
Various factors affect the migration of female nurses.
Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, Deputy Director of the House of Nurses, said, “The number of nurses’ migration has probably increased by 200 to 300 percent compared to the past. Conditions are bad in our country, and nurses do not have job security” (The state-run Armanmeli Daily – January 25, 2022).
The Iranian regime refuses to hire nurses formally as a means of avoiding paying their full salaries. Most of Iran’s nurses are employed on temporary, 89-day contracts in which nurses’ monthly salaries are much lower than the minimum official salary. The nurses are deprived of benefits, regular pay, and insurance. Moreover, they do not have job security. Even the meager wages are not paid regularly.
Dr. Armin Zareian, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nursing Organization in Tehran, explained that one of the main reasons for nurses’ migration was “the lack of timely and accurate compensation for fighting the Coronavirus, lack of retention of the appropriate level of human resources, and failure to recruit 89-day contract nurses.”
Lower wages, longer working hours
Many nurses receive less than 5 million Tomans ($189) in salary. If nurses’ minimum wage is set (at best) at 5 million Tomans, it amounts to a 10-fold difference compared to the global labor market salary – which averages $2,000 per month. It should be noted that nurses’ average working hours in Iran are sometimes at least twice those of nurses in other countries worldwide. Low salaries and excruciating working hours are contributing factors for nurses’ migration.
The clerical regime has made many promises to nurses. However, it has failed to deliver. Nurses have received no rewards in return for their round-the-clock services. Their deferrals are not paid on time. Their monthly wages are not regulated by law. For example, even if a nurse’s salary is 800,000 Tomans ($30) per month, they might receive only 50,000 to 100,000 Tomans ($1-3) a month.
In countries like the United States, nurses receive a $4,000 monthly salary for 7 hours of service per day. In Iran, however, a nurse is paid about $120 for 10 to 12 hours of work, which can also last up to 20 hours a day (The state-run Armanmeli Daily – October 14, 2020).
Lack of job opportunities for female nurses
Lack of job opportunities and the catastrophic economic situation in Iran are additional reasons for the migration of female nurses. According to polls, nurses within the 30-45 age group are more likely to emigrate.
Arab countries in the Persian Gulf are the first destination for the Iranian nurse, specialist, and semi-specialist workforce. Many of Iran’s neighboring countries that are facing skilled labor shortages offer opportunities that attract semi-skilled and skilled workers from Iran.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Iran faced severe shortages of doctors, nurses, and medical staff, and its situation was far below international standards. Given the rise of the sixth wave and the recurring crises in hospitals, the shortage of nurses and the increase in migration is naturally an irreparable loss for medical staff and Coronavirus patients.
Standards do not exist in Iran
After the Coronavirus outbreak in Iran, the per capita number of nurses to hospital beds was very low, presenting a concerning situation compared to global averages. However, despite nurses’ dire and disgraceful situation, the clerical regime makes no efforts to recruit new staff.
The world standard is four nurses per hospital bed. In countries with worse indicators than Iran, there are more than three nurses per bed or for every 1,000 persons. Iran, however, does not reach “half the minimum international standards and half of the people’s minimum care” (The state-run Armanmeli Daily – January 25, 2022).
Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, Deputy Director of the House of Nurses, estimates the national average to be 0.9 percent. The tragedy is that, according to reports, in some provinces and counties, as many as 25 patients are managed by just one nurse. The Deputy for Development and Resource Management of the Nursing Organization announced the news (The state-run Khorasan Daily – September 16, 2021).
As a result of the regime’s inaction, the nursing and paramedical community lost 140 staff during the pandemic. According to these statistics, Iran tops the list of nurses dying from the Coronavirus pandemic. Mohammad Mirza Beigi, the Head of Iran’s Nursing Organization, announced that the latest figure of nurses infected with Coronavirus is 136,000 (The state-run Jahanesanat Daily – September 11, 2021).
Given these factors, as well as the more than half a million deaths due to COVID-19, one can fully understand why Iranian nurses and doctors feel they have no choice but emigrate amid the Coronavirus crisis.