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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nursing Council of New Zealand Requires 7.0 IELTS Score

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MANILA, Philippines - Because of New Zealand’s new rules for hiring overseas-trained nurses, former Filipino dentist Ruby Lat is now stuck as a health care assistant at a hospital, earning 16 NZ dollars or more than P440 an hour despite being a nurse who could be earning NZ$25 or almost P700 an hour.

“I feel it is just the council’s way of protecting nursing jobs for the locals," Lat told the New Zealand Herald.

According to the report, many more Filipino nurses have branded the Nursing Council’s new requirements as “prejudicial" and “unfair," making them settle for unskilled jobs with minimum wage even when hospitals are “facing an acute shortage of nurses."

The new requirements, which took effect last week, requires all overseas-qualified nurses - including those from Britain and other English-speaking countries – to face a tough English language assessment.

According to the report, New Zealand’s Nursing Council now requires a score of 7 in each band of the IELTS (International English language testing system) test, higher than the current university entry requirement of 6.

Reginald, another nurse, told the New Zealand Herald that he believed the requirement was also set to protect nursing jobs for the locals.

“How many of the local nurses would even be able to get 7 in IELTS anyway. It is just not a level playing field," he said.

But the biggest problem for many Filipino nurses is a recent decision by the council that those with nursing degree courses of less than four years will no longer be deemed eligible for employment in New Zealand.

Most Filipinos took nursing as their second course, shortening the time that they needed to complete it as they have already taken some subjects for a previous degree.

Agnes Granada of the group Migrant Action Trust said in the report that it was common for Filipino workers to take nursing as a second course because they saw the demand for nurses worldwide as their way to get out of the country.

Even former Filipino medical doctors have had problems registering in New Zealand as nurses, said Granada.

Moreover, recruiters have also found the new rules to be a liability to New Zealand.

Rodney Faulkner, director of A1 Care 24-7, which recruits foreign nurses for hospitals and district health boards in New Zealand, said in the report that the new registration is “stupid and will just add to New Zealand’s loss."

He said that there was “a huge miscarriage of justice" when a trained nurse he recruited was not considered “good enough" for their country. His recruit apparently held a doctor’s degree in medicine and topped his university in the Philippines.- GMANews.TV

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