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Friday, August 7, 2009

US quota for Filipino nurses filled up, say recruiters

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By Mayen Jaymalin ( Updated August 07, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Employment opportunities in the United States for Filipino nurses aspiring to work there appear to be drying up.

The recruitment industry reported yesterday that the US quota of employment-based immigrant visa for foreign workers, including Filipino nurses have all been filled up.

“Based on the US department data, the June 2009 the employment-based immigrant visa 3rd preference category (EB3) where Filipino registered nurses are usually petitioned under, have been exhausted and are now unavailable,” recruitment officials said.

Recruitment leaders said visa bulletins in the next months are expected to reflect the same information.

New legislation specifically aimed at ending visa retrogression for registered nurses has been introduced in the US Congress.

The proposed legislation closely mirrors a 2008 proposal that calls for registered nurses to be exempted from any numerical limit on visas until 2012. “While the proposal appears to be a positive development for nurses aspiring to work in the US, the bill remained pending and unacted upon for months,” recruitment officials explained.

But recruitment leaders said there are other employment options for Filipino nurses aside from the United States.

The Overseas Nursing Program in the United Kingdom is one of the viable alternatives for Filipino nurses due to the filled up quota in the US.

Under the program, Filipino nurses can study and work in the United Kingdom under the tier 4 student visa category.

“The nurses will be enrolled in higher education degree courses like BSc international nursing/health and social care while working in British hospitals and nursing homes,” they explained.

The nurses, once qualified, will receive an annual pay of 21,000 British pounds or P1.6 million a year.

“If they wish to move to the United States when their visa numbers are called after the long wait they can do so, but with the added benefit of an internationally recognized British degree and valuable work experience as a nurse in the UK work place,” recruiters said.

International Student Advisors, which has successfully arranged for study and work placements for more than 700 healthcare workers to the UK since the beginning of 2008, is offering this alternative solution.


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