The government’s pandemic task force has increased the annual deployment ceiling for newly hired healthcare workers (HCWs) to 6,500 from the previous 5,000.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) suspended the deployment of nurses abroad after the 5,000-cap was reached early this month.
In a statement, Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases increased the annual deployment cap of new-hire healthcare workers for Mission Critical Skills (MCS) to 6,500.
HCWs falling under MCS with perfected contracts as of May 31, 2021, shall form part of the adjusted ceiling.
However, healthcare workers under government-to-government labor agreements shall be exempted from this adjusted ceiling.
The government has decided to limit the deployment of HCWs to ensure that the country has an adequate number of medical workers amid the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On June 5, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates (OECs) of newly hired nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants were temporarily suspended.
The POEA said HCWs who have been issued OECs prior to the reimposition of the deployment ban are exempted and are allowed to proceed to the country they are being employed.
Last month, Olalia said countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand, among others, have requested an increase in the deployment of HCWs.
In December last year, the POEA lifted the moratorium on the deployment of HCWs “until it reaches the annual deployment ceiling of 5,000 new hires for healthcare workers.”