Dole 11: More nurses needed in Germany, Saudi Arabia

By Greg G. Deligero
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) in Davao Region announced that Germany and Saudi Arabia has opened hundreds of jobs for Filipino nurses.
Dole 11 regional office said it will start facilitating job applications for registered nurses to Germany, which has recently inked an agreement with the Philippine government on the health care professionals.
DOLE regional director Joefrey M. Suyao said Germany will initially hire 500 registered nurses, the same number that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also mulling although it has yet to finalize the government-to-government hiring agreement.
“This is good news to our nurses, many of whom are unemployed,” he said.
Suyao said DOLE’s job facilitation among the nurses is among the services available in the job fairs to be simultaneously held in Gaisano Mall of Tagum, Gaisanao Mall of Davao and SM City of Davao on May 1.
The Philippines has a huge pool of professional registered nurses, bringing the total number of unemployed but professionally registered nurses to more or less 400,000, according to government statistics.
In 2011, the Department of Health (DOH) has issued a memorandum that banned nurse volunteerism in all public hospitals under its jurisdiction. However, a lot of nurses continue to work unpaid in government and private hospitals to gain experience which is a key requirement for working abroad. At least 80 percent of the employed registered nurses in the country are working overseas, according to the non-government Health Alliance for Democracy.
Under the “Agreement Concerning the Placement of Filipino Health Care Professionals in Employment Positions in the Federal Republic of Germany” between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur fur Arbeit, or BA), the German health care sector will be opened for Filipino healthcare professionals, including nurses.
The agreement establishes the conditions for the recruitment and employment of Filipino health care professionals, including nurses, to Germany to address the shortage of health care workers in that country.
The bilateral labor agreement covers the following areas of cooperation between the two countries: (a) regulation on the deployment of Filipino health care professionals; (b)preservation, promotion, and development of Filipino workers’ welfare; (c) exchange of ideas and information with the aim of improving and simplifying job placement procedures; and (d) other relevant technical and HRD cooperation and continuing studies in labor and employment.
Under the agreement, each party undertakes to ensure that the recruitment and deployment of Filipino health care professionals are in accordance with existing laws of each country; that Filipino health care professionals to be deployed have appropriate employment contracts; and that they are provided with proper briefing or orientation before departure.
The agreement provides that Filipino health care professionals may not be employed in Germany under working conditions less favorable than those for comparable German workers.
They will also have compulsory insurance in the German social security system, such as health and long-term care insurance, pension, accident, and unemployment insurance. German employers must also provide them adequate accommodation.
Both parties to the agreement will explore projects to sustain and promote HRD in the Philippines.
Suyao said the Philippine government is now also finalizing parallel agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the hiring of health professionals.
“What is a key advantage in government-to-government hiring is that the applicants are not required for a placement fee,” he said.