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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pinoy nurses warned of ‘English language’ scam in NZ

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Migrants' advocacy group Migrante-Aotearoa on Friday warned Filipino nurses planning to work in New Zealand not to fall for a purported English-language proficiency program that’s actually a scam which drives many nurses into debt as their families sell assets at home just to pay for "exorbitant" tuition and recruitment fees.

The scam involves certain recruitment agencies luring nurses with the promise that by undergoing the English language program, they will have a better chance of meeting the English proficiency level required by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

These agencies further claim that while undergoing the program, nurses may work part-time, or up to 20 hours per week, as healthcare assistants in nursing homes in New Zealand, with which these agencies supposedly have established connections.

Nurses who come to the country through the program, however, have reported it is difficult for them to find jobs especially in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington, which all prioritize the hiring of locals.

“The English study scheme has turned out to be a pathway for many Filipino nurses to become heavily indebted migrant professionals who can only get jobs as caregivers in rest-homes rather than nurses in hospitals in New Zealand," Migrante-Aotearoa national coordinator Dennis Maga said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news site.

According to Maga, nurses become frustrated as they can hardly pay for the hefty loans they incurred to be able to come to New Zealand, only to end up working 20 hours a week as caregivers and receiving barely-above minimum pay.

The migrant nurses also eke out just enough to pay for very high housing and living costs there, the group added, on top of the average of NZ$12,000 (P372,000) payment for the study course.

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