Labor Group: Other countries are conscripting even our nursing students

In file photo: Senior nursing students attend a training lecture at Phinma Corp.’s St Jude College in Manila.

Even the country’s next generation of health care workers (HCW) are now being “pirated” abroad, according to a labor group. 

In a press conference last week, De la Salle Health Sciences Inc. Employees Union President Vilma Garcia lamented how even their second year nursing students are now getting overseas employment opportunities. 

“They get great packages from other countries. They will continue their studies abroad and then after that practice in hospitals there. Then they can bring their family there,” Garcia said. 

The concurrent board member of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said among the countries which provide such offers are Germany and the United Kingdom (UK).

Germany and the UK currently have existing agreements with the government for the hiring of Filipino nurses due to the ageing population in both European countries. 

The new trend, Garcia said, only worsened the ongoing exodus of HCWs abroad.

She noted HCWs, including nurses, radiologic technicians, and medical technicians, seek overseas employment due to getting low pay and being overworked in local health facilities. 

“We consider ourselves lucky if our newly hired nurse will last two years with us,” Garcia said. 

To regulate the number of HCWs migrating abroad especially during the pandemic, the government imposed a deployment cap for certain medical professions, including nurses. 

The deployment cap is currently at 7,500 per year, but the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) last Nov. said it is now considering rationalizing the said deployment cap.

Garcia said a possible long-term solution for the  exodus, she said, is for the government to raise the pay for the private sector so it will be at par with those from the public sector. 

She also said the proposed two-year return service for new HCWs will also help ensure the country has a sufficient pool of workers for its health  facilities.

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