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Friday, January 30, 2009

Overseas Employment Crisis: Nurses to US not answer to OFW crisis

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MANILA, Philippines—The deployment of Filipino nurses and other health-care professionals to the United States will not save the Philippines from the impending overseas employment crisis as the global financial crunch deepens, a recruiter said Monday.

The number of Filipino health-care professionals leaving for US jobs is on a decline for the past several years, Loreto Soriano said, citing records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

He said that since 2000, some 1,900 Filipino nurses have been deployed to the US for an average of 237 a year. In 2007, he said, the number was much lower at.

Due to the backlog in work-based immigrant petitions, he said, processing time has been between three to five years.

Foreign professionals who want to work in the United States are still restricted by stalled US immigration legislation.

Soriano said that while the US has a projected need for 1.2 million nurses by 2014, the new administration of President Barack Obama is unlikely to reverse the declining trend of hiring foreign health workers.

In an earlier forum, former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno estimated that about 500,000 overseas Filipinos will lose their jobs as a direct result of the global financial crisis.


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