MANILA— Exempting Germany in the Philippines' health care worker deployment cap would benefit Filipino nurses who have already invested their own money in training to work there, an official of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Tuesday.
The Philippines' coronavirus task force earlier increased the cap on the overseas deployment of health care workers to 6,500 from 5,000. However, the previous 5,000 annual ceiling for new hires has already been breached on June 1.
Germany is "lobbying" for an exemption to the cap similar to what has been granted to the United Kingdom, German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Stefan Schmitz told ANC.
"The danger that we are seeing is that if we are not getting from here, we may be looking again at other traditional areas where we got them in the past. In Eastern Europe for example," Schmitz said.
"But the point is when this drive started before COVID, a lot of Filipino health care workers have invested into this," he added.
Unlike the UK, there is a language hurdle in Germany. Potential workers invest their own money to get a B2 language certification which could take 1 to 1 1/2 years, he said.
The hiring of at least 2,000 health care workers is in the pipeline and many of them have already invested in language courses, he added.
"We have to make sure they haven’t done this in vain... It’s for the good of Germany, of course, but it’s also for the good of Filipino health care workers," Schmitz said.
Schmitz said the chamber has been in talks with the labor department and its attached agencies and that they are waiting for a response to their request for the cap exemption.
The government in 2020 suspended the deployment of health care workers abroad as the demand rose both locally and globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since been eased and modified.