Archive for the ‘POEA’ Category

More OFWs leave the country for jobs abroad

March 24, 2009

It should tbe consolation to the Philippines that more Filipinos work outside the country in January this year than last year. Philippine Overseass Employment Administration (POEA) reports that 165,737 compared to 132,285 left the country for jobs abroad.

This resoundingly affirms the sustained global preference for our skilled and semi-skilled overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and their productive role in staving off the adverse effects of the global slowdown in the greater portion of the world’s economies,” said Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.—GMA TV News (03/24/09, Tan, JT)

The exodus of workers to foreign land has brought about US$16.4 billion dollars to the Philippine economy. In spite of the economic benefits, working abroad has caused a lot alienation, family displacement, and separation.

Filipinos still need to develop local placements and not rely on foreign work opportunities which disrupt local labor. There are many jobs with difficult working conditions abroad and Filipinos are forced to take them for lack of employment in the country. It is not hard to imagine that many of these jobs are menial, dangerous, and demanding that many locals of host countries refuse to take. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi)=0=


Belying nurse surplus with unfilled 20,000 foreign jobs—a slanted view of RP’s unemployment problem

September 2, 2008

After Ruth Padilla, a commissioner of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) announced there are 400,000 currently unemployed nurses in the Philippines, Jackson Gan, the vice-president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters and his organization belie the excess of nurses because there are unfilled “20,000 job orders for nurses in the Middle East, Singapore, and Europe.” Inquirer (09/01/08, Uy, V.)

By numbers alone, 20,000 jobs Gan speaks of don’t come close to 400,000 jobless licensed nurses that Padilla is referring to. Even if these foreign jobs are filled, there remain 380,000 licensed nurses who aren’t employed. Many more nurses are scheduled to finish their courses and take the boards, adding more numbers in the jobless pool. So how can Gan prove his point?

On Gan’s admission many nurses are shifting to other jobs in computers, call centers, medical transcriptions, or other employment unrelated to their education out of desperation. Is this not a sign of an oversupply? The existence of foreign job offers abroad doesn’t negate the reality of joblessness at home, the place where Filipinos must be in the first place.

Speaking for the manpower establishment (also maybe for the POEA as well,) whose main role is to fill in workers, Gan sounds condescending in saying that our nurses aren’t qualified for the job. This isn’t entirely true— knowing that they went through standard accredited study and were licensed as professionals by the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC.)

Almost everyone knows there is slowing in hiring coincident to the way-ward increase in the number of nurses in the supply pool. Contrary to Gan’s assertion, Filipino nurses want to go abroad even in countries other than the United States, but there are reasons other than the prejorative label of “not being qualified” that are keeping them at home

The lack of two-year experience in a 250-bed hospital is the reason Gan cites for the unfilled foreign jobs. But this is simplistic and misleading for the turn-over of nurses in big hospitals is brisk. Because of the US back-log (not enough visas are available,) many nurses who already passed the NCLEX are forced to wait for at least 2 years, just the right time for them to comply with the experience requirement.

It is more likely therefore, the 20,000 foreign positions aren’t filled (if truly they exist) is because the jobs offered aren’t attractive enough— the workplace can be “unsafe,” the terms of the contract may be unacceptable, there can be family issues that remain unresolved on immigration, or the offer of going abroad poses difficult cultural and language barriers that is hard to meet. Above all, many applicants may not have the cash to finance their foreign applications forcing them to work and save first before pursuing their plans abroad.

Reported in the news before, Spain wants Filipino nurses, but job-seekers need to learn Spanish—a task that has nothing to do with the nurse’s ability to care for patients in the hospital. Why will they learn Spanish when they are even struggling with the English language which takes them too long to master? Similarly, Belgium also needs nurses, but they have to speak in Belgian. Saudi Arabia may have jobs, but horror stories abound from nurses and overseas foreign workers (OFW’s) who worked in countries where the treatment of women and foreigners are different. There are scary reports of maids in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East who commit suicide because of maltreatment, rape, isolation, and intolerable working conditions.

Gan and people with his mindset need to simply look around to say what they are saying is lopsided, a cheap letdown against the nurses, themselves helpless victims of inept education and labor planning. He speaks from the vantage point of an astute labor-peddler whose interest is mainly to deploy workers in jobs without much regard of the welfare of Filipinos braving the uncertainties and hardships in the world outside. =0=

Job Prospects for Filipino Nurses Decline

June 1, 2008

The law of supply and demand has caught up with the nurses again. As the 65,000 board exam takers fend off anxiety brought by the test given in June 1 & 2, 2008, a gloomy cloud hovers over their job outlook. Employment is reportedly down. And there’s a bottleneck which impedes hiring of nurses at home. Against the rosy job predictions of the past, there’s slowing in work recruitment. The chart shows fewer jobs are available abroad, hopefully just a transient trend that will go away.

In 1999, there were 27,000 student nurses in various schools nationwide. The number ballooned to 453,896 in the next 7 years—an incredible increase, in response to the bright prospects of a nursing career, in spite of the ban against opening of more schools, for fear of diploma mills.

The expense of pursuing the four-year course isn’t cheap. It’s about 300,000 pesos. The amount doesn’t include the bells and whistles of nursing: pocket-moneys, reviews, licensure tests, language proficiency exams, NCLEX, CGFNS certifications, and visa screens which could easily double the price of the country’s most popular course. Would-be nurses spend generously for the requirements, mostly to prepare for jobs abroad. Yet, in spite of the prohibitive cost, the Commission of Higher Education (mindful of the deteriorating quality of education) wants to extend the nursing curriculum for another year.

It’s the promise of green bucks and the lure to live overseas which drive many Filipinos into the profession. They’re motivated to work and immigrate in alien places, dreaming of situations different from what they have at home. Encouraged by the government, a huge number of them join the country’s army of willing workers who are relied upon, by their dollars, to shore up the nation’s economy.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) the government agency which oversees the assignment of workers abroad isn’t happy with the southward retreat of jobs. Though probably the numbers are inaccurate since a good number of nurses sneak outside the country outside POEA’s purview, the agency’s data have nonetheless revealed a compelling picture:

The POEA data show a decline in deployment of new hires. From a high of 13, 822, deployed new hires in 2001, deployment decreased to 8,528 in 2006. Significant drops in deployment of new hires happened in the following receiving countries— Saudi Arabia: from 5,626 in 2004 to 2,886 in 2006; United Kingdom: from 800 in 2004 to 139 in 2006; US from 373 in 2004 to 133 in 2006; Kuwait: from 408 in 2004 to 191 in 2006; Qatar from 318 in 2004 to 38 in 2006.” (06/01/08, Romero, P.)

Passing the boards is a requisite for local employment. If about half of the number of test examinees (32,500) passes the licensure test, many of them would find it hard to land a job. There are those who’re way ahead in the pile waiting for vacancies even in non-nursing jobs such as in call centers, medical transcription and computer technology. They’re likely to default on the time-table to be productive and miss the opportunity to assist their loved ones who are heavily invested in their future. ==0==