Factors affecting the effectiveness of overseas people employed as psychiatric nurses are discussed. Basic cultural influences, especially different value systems between the immigrant and the host population, are seen as unlikely to be greatly altered by the environment in which the immigrant nurses find themselves. In fact a greater divergence would seem more likely to occur. The different experiences of immigrant nurses compared with nurses recruited in Britain are considered under the following headings: expectations of the immigrants on entering nursing, their contact with the host culture, the reaction of the indigenous population to the immigrant, language difficulties, and the insecurity of employment. The conclusion drawn is that the cultural differences, recruitment methods, the immigrants' experiences in employment and lack of contact with the culture of the indigenous population (apart from their deviant members) are likely to adversely affect his/her ability to function as a therapeutic agent. This is particularly important where the form of treatment is based on the social model.