TFC News

Canada urged to make it easier for internationally trained nurses to work

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Apr 07 2022 11:54 AM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Many internationally-educated Filipino nurses in Canada face a lot of barriers before they can practice their profession in the country.

It can be the long wait for their assessment, the difficulty of finding a spot in nursing schools, or the costs to pursue their dream.

"If you go ahead and start the process of applying only to find out later that you did fail the English test, that’s a lot of time and money, so this is the most common barrier," Immigration consultant Darla Tomeldan noted.

Filipino nurse Mark Xyrus Quinan also asserted, "yung sa language test, yung requirement nila masyadong mataas. Although may experience ka na sa Pilipinas o kung saan ka galing, parang hindi nila nake-credit pagdating dito."

(The language test, their requirement is too high. Even if you have experience in the Philippines or wherever you came from, it is not credited when you get here.)

At a recent Filipino nurses convention held by the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, it was learned that some 6,000 internationally-educated nurses (IENs) in British Columbia have yet to work in hospitals. Walter Lumamba of the BC Nurses Union called on the provincial government to commit and shorten the process for these nurses.

"How are you going to address the shortage of nurses? So, opening the seats is a good point. You’ll have 602 that will start next year. And how are you going to provide it? That’s a long term, maybe, how about the short-term, at this point of time, because nurses are struggling?," Lumamba asked.

There are also calls for BC to provide financial help to many IENs who are having a hard time supporting their family while also paying for the cost of their education.

"We did suggest to the BC government to look at Manitoba which has offered $23,000 as funding for those who want to bridge, to fix their credentials from internationally-educated nurses to credentialed nurses in Canada," Philippine Consul General Ma. Andrelita Austria said.

To help nurses review for their English test, the Consulate in Vancouver is also offering free language lessons.

"For people who want to review for CELPIP, they just need to contact the Overseas Workers Welfare Office and we’ll be happy to arrange tutoring sessions," Austria added.

The Filipino Canadian member of the Legislative Assembly of BC, Mable Elmore, recognized the difficulties that IENs face. She acknowledged that more should be done to help foreign-educated nurses get work in hospitals.

Job forecasts in Canada show that the country will need more than 191,000 nurses until 2028. BC will also need more than 20,000 new nurses until 2031.