10K healthcare workers went abroad since January — POEA

MANILA, Oct 8 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said around 10,000 healthcare workers (HCWs) left the country to work abroad since the start of the year.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the health workers, particularly nurses, are Balik Manggagawa (BM) who went home for the Christmas vacation.

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

Olalia said the government-to-government hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are also allowed to report to their employers abroad.

“We deploy them on the basis of our bilateral labor relations we signed with other host countries. In Germany, we have 550 nurses in the pipeline for this year. We have also 400 more in the pipeline last year,” he said.

He said nurses and other healthcare works are allowed to work abroad as long as they have contracts signed as of August 31.

“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.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved the POEA proposal to extend the exemption period from March 8 to Aug. 31 for health care workers from the temporary deployment ban to allow those who have already spent to have their documents the chance to get their money’s worth.

Duterte has yet to make a decision on the total lifting of the deployment ban due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019.

Warned against illegal recruiters

Olalia, meanwhile, warned the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against illegal recruiters particularly those engaged in third country recruitment.

He said unscrupulous individuals or groups are using the Covid-19 pandemic to entice Filipino workers abroad by offering higher salary.

“We would like to remind our OFWs against third country recruitment. They are being offered jobs with high salaries. Avoid them, Don’t be victim,” he said.

He said illegal recruiters are using different social media platforms in offering supposedly high paying jobs to Filipinos employed overseas.

Olalia advised the Filipinos abroad to always check and validate the invitation at any Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLOs), Labor Attachés, and Philippine embassy.

Aside from validating the invitation, he said the OFW should also be aware on who is/are those recruiting them.

“They should validate the invitation at our POLOs, Labor Attaché, embassy and also check it at our website, www.poea.gov.ph. They should know the identities of those who are recruiting them,” he said. “If they were asked to pay placement fee, they should have doubts that they are being victimized by illegal recruiters.” (MNS)

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