MANILA — More medical front-liners now have the opportunity to find work abroad after the Philippine government raised its deployment cap on health workers, an official said Sunday.
The deployment cap is now at 7,000, higher than the 3,500 limit from early 2021, said Villamor Ventura Plan, deputy administrator at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
The POEA is also in talks with the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Health to see if the deployment cap will be maintained, Plan said, noting that the country's demand for health workers must also be considered.
"Kailangan ng nurses natin na makahanap ng better opportunities siguro. Mahirap naman kung pipigilan natin sila," he said.
(Our nurses need to find better opportunities. It would be hard if we will stop them.)
The Philippine government imposed an annual cap of nurses and other health workers seeking word abroad to ensure that the country had enough medical front-liners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plan said there are more licensed nurses after the licensure exams pushed through last year. Some exams have faced delays due to the pandemic.
There is currently a demand for Filipino health care professionals in Australia and New Zealand, he said.
Opportunities in other countries
In the same interview, Plan said more countries have announced that they would reopen to Filipino workers, with Taiwan being the most recent.
The Philippines has 5,000 workers that it could immediately send to Taiwan once the neighboring country opens its borders on Feb. 15, Plan said.
But for the entire year, the Philippines can send 40,000 workers, Plan said, noting that "yearly, pre-pandemic time, we are deploying to Taiwan about 70,000 OFWs."
The Philippine government also has an agreement to send health care workers and other skilled workers to Germany.
There is a demand as well for Filipino workers in eastern European countries and in the Middle East.
Despie such opportunities, the government still wants to provide local jobs to Filipinos, Plan said.
"It's still the policy of our government na hangga't kaya natin, dito natin sila pagtatrabahuhin," he said.
(It's still the policy of our government to give Filipinos work here as much as we can.)