POEA: 10K health care workers have left PH since January

AROUND 10,000 health care workers (HCWs) have left the Philippines to work overseas since January, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Wednesday, October 7.

“Since the start of the year, we were able to send abroad 10,000 HCWs, particularly nurses who are Balik Manggagawa (BM),” POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said during the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) weekly forum.

“They went home for the Yuletide Season and went back to their jobs abroad after the Christmas break. We continue to allow BM to leave,” he added.

Olalia also said that nurses and other health care workers are now allowed to fly out of the country to work abroad.

“Since April, May, June, more or less we send abroad 400 nurses who were hired by recruitment agencies, every month. We include direct hires upon the intervention of the recruitment agency. We have an average deployment of 500 to 600 HCWs every month despite the implementation of the temporary suspension,” he said.

The POEA on Tuesday announced that newly-hired Filipino health care workers with signed contracts as of August 31, 2020 may now leave the country to work overseas.

“The cut-off date was extended from March 8 to August 31 upon the recommendation of
the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” the agency said.

In its Advisory No. 47-B Series of 2020, the POEA said HCWs who have perfected and signed contracts as of the new date and “have secured overseas employment certificates (OECs) as their exit permits can now report to their employers overseas.”

“New hire health care workers refer to newly hired HCWs who are direct hires, recruitment agency hires, including POEA Government Placement Branch hires who were already accepted under the hiring program of host countries,” the POEA said.

BMs or returning health workers with OEC exemption certificates, are likewise allowed to leave the country, as well as seafarers previously hired as doctors and nurses onboard, and would be deployed by the same licensed manning agency.

“The deployment of HCWs will remain under a strict observance of prescribed quarantine protocols, social distancing measures, as well as in the departure and immigration formalities in the Philippines, in transit counties, and in countries of work destination,” POEA said.

The agency, meanwhile, maintained that the deployment of HCWs to countries that impose travel restrictions is still prohibited.

It also reiterated that outbound passengers with visas that are not documented through POEA regulations, such as the U.S. J-1 visa, and permanent residents, immigrants or dual citizens of other countries are excluded from the temporary deployment suspension.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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