Pandemic drives global demand for Pinoy HCWS–POEA chief

- BY SAMUEL P. MEDENILLA @sam_medenilla

DEMAND for Filipino nurses have more than doubled since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administra­tion (POEA).

In an online news briefing on Wednesday, POEA Administra­tor Bernard P. Olalia disclosed more countries are opening their doors to additional Filipino health-care workers (HCW).

“Our usual annual deployment pre-pandemic is around 12,000 to 15,000. But these JO [job orders] have now more than doubled,” Olalia said.

He noted “traditiona­l markets” like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan has increased their JOS for Filipino HCWS.

Likewise, he said, several “nontraditi­onal markets,” which includes Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman, are now interested in hiring Filipino HCWS.

“So our challenge now is to balance the internatio­nal demand for nurses and our domestic needs,” Olalia said.

POEA imposed earlier this year a 5,000 deployment cap for HCWS to ensure the country will still have a sufficient pool of medical personnel for the country’s Covid-19 response.

Last month, the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) opted to increase the said cap by another 1,500 upon the request of the Department of Labor and Employment and other stakeholde­rs.

Olalia said they expect to exhaust all of the additional slots by August.

He said they are already coordinati­ng with the IATF with the possibilit­y of increasing once again the said deployment cap to provide more Filipino the opportunit­ies to work abroad.

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