Returning healthcare workers (HCWs) with existing contracts will not be part of the 5,000 cap on the deployment of health workers abroad, an official from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Saturday.
POEA Administrator Usec. Bernard Olalia said during the Laging Handa press briefing that the deployment cap will only apply to new workers.
“Yun pong ating sealing na 5,000 ay maga-apply lamang po sa new hires. Sila po ay yung agency or direct hires po natin (The 5,000 cap will only apply to new hires. They are the agency or direct hires),” Olalia said.
Olalia explained that there is a sealing or 5,000 cap per annum that will begin on January 1, 2021 and will cover all 14 healthcare workers listed under mission critical skills in the POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 9.
This includes medical doctors/physicians, nurses, microbiologists, molecular biologists, medical technologists, clinical analysts, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, x-ray/radiologic technicians, nursing assistants/nursing aid, operators of medical equipment, supervisors of health services and personal care and repairmen of medical-hospital equipment.
“Ang ibig pong sabihin nito pag po sumobra na sa 5,000 tayo po’y hihingi ng pahintulot kung tayo po’y papayagan ng IATF base rin po sa assessment natin para po matugunan natin yun atin pong pangangailangan dito po sa ating sariling healthcare system gawa po ng pandemya (This means that if we exceed that 5,000 limit, we will ask permission from the IATF if workers will still be allowed based on our assessment so that we can also address the needs of our own healthcare system because of the pandemic),” Olalia said.
He added that the POEA will have a regular assessment if they will recommend additional deployment when it exceeds 5,000.
“Kung matutugunan po natin yung pangangailangan natin dito po sa ating sariling bansa, mababa na po yung bilang ng apektado ng COVID-19 ay maganda pong senyales yan lalong lalo na po kung di po apektado yung supply ng ating mga nurses dito (If we will be able to adress the needs of our country, and there is a low number of COVID-19 cases, then that is a good sign especially if the supply of nurses in the country is not affected) ,” Olalia said.
Olalia noted that the POEA will be also be studying the plan to lift the deployment ban with 11 other skills under the mission critical skills like where temporary suspension is still in effect.
Olalia said the POEA is continuously processing healthcare workers such as nurses, nursing aides and nursing assistants who wish to work abroad.
“Mayroon na po tayong datos, halos less than 100 na po yung napoproseso po natin na agencies na nagpro-process po ng new hired patungo po ng UK, Germany at ibat ibang bahagi pa ng mundo na kung saan meron po tayong ugnayan ng mga hiring ng ating mga HCWs (Less than 100 agencies are being handled by POEA which are processing new hires bound for United Kingdom, Germany and other parts of the world),” he said.