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Monday, December 8, 2008

Retrogression Update: US demand for Filipino nurses still high

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By Veronica Uy
First Posted 20:33:00 12/05/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Despite the global financial crisis and deepening recession in the United States, demand for Filipino nurses remains high, representatives of two recruitment agencies said Friday.

Philip Leonard, a British who chairs the St. Georges Recruitment International Inc., said representatives of the Maryland-based Cambridge Healthcare will be in the country in January to interview applicants for 600 vacancies for registered nurses, and
physical and occupational therapists to work in the United States.

Qualified applicants will work in emergency rooms, intensive care units/coronary care units, telemetry, and medical and surgical areas in health-care facilities across the United States, he said, adding Cambridge Healthcare is connected with 260 health-care facilities all over the US.

Leonard said those who will be hired can go and work in the US within three to six months "with H1B visas under a non-cap exempt status simply meaning that their positions do not fall under the retrogression period for H1B visas."

On the other hand, Ibaro Relamida Jr., lawyer of Sentosa Recruitment Agency, said that while the demand is "still strong, no visa is available due to retrogression." The Philippines has used up its visa quota.

"We are just waiting for the visas of 500 nurses with complete papers and approved petitions," he said in an exchange of messages with

"Actually the health care service is one of the least affected in the US recession as per my clients," he said.

The statements of both Leonard and Relamida support Labor Secretary Marianito Roque's contention that the health-care profession is relatively recession-proof.

Last year, the American Hospital Association said more than 5,000 community hospitals nationwide have a need for 116,000 registered nurses. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics also projected a shortage of more than one million registered nurses by 2010.

Leonard said that the demand is so high that aside from immediate departure to the US, selected applicants can enjoy the following benefits: relocation bonus, have their spouse and two children under 21 join them, 36-hour work-week in 12-hour shifts, "lucrative"
over-time pay, US standard benefits and options and paid legal, licensing and testing fees.


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