Government allows âunliâ deployment of nurses to UK
Nurses wear protective gear before vaccinating elders against COVID-19, at the Habitat nursing home in Medellin, Colombia, on February 26, 2021.
AFP/Joaquin Sarmiento

Government allows ‘unli’ deployment of nurses to UK

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has allowed the deployment of an unlimited number of nurses to the United Kingdom.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News/TV5 on Monday night, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government has exempted the UK from the 5,000 deployment cap for health care workers abroad.

“We granted the request of UK to be exempted,” Bello said, adding that the UK government is requesting to hire between 2,000 and 3,000 nurses a month.

The 5,000 deployment cap for nurses this year will stay and only UK has been granted an exemption, according to Bello.

He said Filipino nurses and other health workers are highly in demand not only in the UK but also in other countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In fact, the government of Germany has expressed its desire to hire about 15,000 Filipino nurses,” Bello said.

Unlike the UK, Bello said the German government did not ask for an exemption from the deployment cap imposed by the Philippines.

The Philippine government imposed a deployment cap to ensure sufficient number of health professionals in the country amid the pandemic.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) previously sought the vaccination of Filipino health workers to be deployed to the UK.

Bello, however, said there is no vaccination requirement for workers departing for overseas employment.

He said most overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been vaccinated, except those who have already finished their contract.

In demand abroad

Employment prospects remain bright not only for health workers but other highly skilled OFWs abroad.

Bello said demand for Filipino construction workers in Singapore is also on the rise.

“Singapore is trying to recruit more construction workers from the Philippines because they ban workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal,” he said.

Singapore apparently banned the hiring of workers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in those countries.

Bello said the DOLE is also signing a bilateral agreement for the hiring of more OFWs in Canada.

“We are also talking with Russia and China so demand for OFWs is growing,” he said.

The DOLE intends to set up a Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Thailand where there is a growing number of Filipino teachers.

Data from the different POLOs showed that around 7,000 Filipino workers abroad have succumbed to COVID-19.

The government vaccinated 5,000 OFWs and other essential workers during the Labor Day celebration.

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