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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nursing News: Move on Filipino nurses threatens political fallout

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Failure to register Philippine-trained nurses is not only turning many into overstayers, it puts New Zealand at risk of political backlash, Philippine Ambassador Bienvenido Tejano warns.

Mr Tejano says about 50 "distressed" overstaying Filipinos, many of them nurses, have approached him directly in the last year after they ran out of money, and he believes many others are in the same plight.

"It is a problem, and it is growing by the day. They come in groups of five, 10 and 15, and as much as we want to help them, there is not much we can do," Mr Tejano said.

Many nurses from the Philippines had sold everything to come here - because it was widely publicised that there was an acute shortage of nurses in New Zealand - only to discover their qualifications were not recognised and they could not get registered, he said.

"They have no money to go back, and nothing to go back for any more."

The New Zealand Nursing Council has questioned the quality of nursing qualifications and training programmes in the Philippines after nursing student numbers there boomed from 30,000 in 2004 to 450,000 last year - but Mr Tejano said it was "unacceptable" for the council to be judging the quality just by looking at the numbers.

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