Brunei seeks exemption from PH deployment cap on healthcare workers

Published August 31, 2021, 2:29 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The government of Brunei is again seeking an exemption from the Philippines’ existing deployment cap on healthcare workers due to the current demand of medical frontliners there amid the pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.


Labor Attaché Melissa Mendizabal of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Brunei Darussalam said two hospitals there are looking to hire around 200 nurses and 30 medical doctors.

“The salary is comparable to the salary of nurses in Singapore. Nurses receive high take-home pay because of the free accommodation and transportation,” Mendizabal said in a recent virtual briefing.

“If they render overtime work, they earn as much as 2,000 Brunei Dollars per month,” she noted, adding that there is a high turnover of nurses in the Southeast Asian country.

With the current deployment cap on healthcare workers in the Philippines, Mendizabal said the Brunei government has sent another request for an exemption last July after the initial appeal in 2020 did not materialize.

Aside from work opportunities in the healthcare sector, the labor official bared that the Brunei government is also looking for Filipino workers to fill up thousands of jobs available in the oil and gas, and household service sectors.

According to Mendizabal, workers in the oil and gas sector–which comprise around 10 percent of the Filipino population in Brunei–receive higher salaries ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 Brunei Dollars.

“Prior to our current situation, we have processed job orders for domestic workers. On top of that are the nurses, then those in the oil and gas industry. Most of the job orders that we have processed are in those sectors,” she added.

Currently, Mendizabal said there are around 20,000 OFWs in Brunei.

While the Brunei government is trying to implement localization of workers, the labor attaché said employers in almost all industries there prefer to hire Filipinos to fill up the available positions.

“Our kababayans will always be the first choice among migrant workers to work here. They prefer Filipino workers, and some employers are very proud of our OFWs because of their industry. At the moment, we are in semi lockdown, but once we go back to normal, almost all sectors want to hire our OFWs,” she said.

However, Mendizabal noted that Filipino workers there have no chance for permanent residency in the country as OFWs are “work pass holders only, and they are issued visas after every two years.”