The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said there are now “less than 400” slots left for health care workers who want to work overseas.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 earlier pegged the deployment cap on heath care workers to 6,500 to ensure that the country would not run out of its health workers especially during the pandemic.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has also kicked in an appetite for health care workers, with the United Kingdom now being the top destination for health workers, followed by Germany, United States, and Singapore.
“Dati naman wala sa top 3 ang UK. Either siguro dumami ang problema na dulot ng pandemya na nangyayari, kaya dumami ang pangangailangan nila,” said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia in the labor department’s virtual presser.
“Dati na silang nakaka-experience ng labor shortage, aggravated by the fact of the pandemic, yung mga nagtatrabaho siguro sa UK, nakakita ng mas maraming opportunities sa ibang European countries,” Olalia added.
Olalia pointed out that this may be the time for the IATF to reconsider the current cap.
“Kinakailangan ulit na magkaroon ng bagong polisiya kung tayo ba ay mag-e-extend, magdadagdag ng cap, mag-e-expand ng coverage. May rekomendasyon na ang IATF, aantabay na po ang POEA,” he said.
But the United Kingdom is exempted from the cap application, and it is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine government this Friday.
“Di nangangahulugan na papabayaan natin ang ating sariling pangangailangan, na yung mga less experienced ang makikita sa ating bansa at ang more experienced ang ating ipapadala,” Olalia said.
“Sa katunayan wala pong requirement o qualifications ang mga destination countries pagdating sa mga skills ng ating nurses, ang sinasabi lang magkaroon sila ng experience you are qualified,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte lifted a deployment ban on healthcare workers in November last year, but limited the number allowed to leave to ensure there would be enough at home as the Philippines battles one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia.