Security of tenure sought for Pinoy nurses in New Zealand

MANILA, Philippines — An organization of Filipino migrant workers in New Zealand appealed Thursday to the Nursing Council to approve the registration of qualified Filipino nurses who have been working for at least one year before implementing the new policy requiring nurses to take on second courses.

Dennis Maga, national coordinator of Migrante Aotearoa, said hundreds of Filipino nurses will be forced to go home and add to the growing number of jobless workers unless the Nursing Council approve their registration.

The new policy requires second courser to study for 2-3 semesters in New Zealand. Many Filipino nurses work as health care assistants or caregivers in New Zealand, receiving lower pay even as New Zealand hospitals are in need of nurses, Maga said.

Many nurses were very hopeful about finally getting their registration after they recently passed the English test, but the new policy shattered her dream of finally getting a license, Maga said.

Maga disclosed that some Filipino nurses have been forced to go home to the Philippines as they could not afford to pay around NZ$20,000 a year. 

“We hope that the council will take the right step in protecting the rights of Filipino nurses currently in New Zealand who have long waited for their registration under the old policy rather than impose a new policy that will force them to go home or find work elsewhere,"the group said.

“While it is the council’s job to assess the hundreds of applicants who are waiting in the Philippines, we believe it is also their job to recognize the service and protect the rights of those who are already here. We ask the council not to undermine the skills of Filipino nurses who deserve to get their license before the new policy was in place," Maga said.

In a letter addressed to Chief executive Carolyn Reed, Mr. Maga noted, “We do understand the council’s job to ensure that educational courses preparing Filipino nurses coming to New Zealand are meeting acceptable standards. But we hope there will be justice and compassion for the nurses who are already working here. They certainly deserve to be registered under the old policy as they already proved to be of good service to the New Zealand health care system."

Migrante Aotearoa launched in 2007 a campaign in support of nurses’ fight against unscrupulous contracts and exorbitant fees by some immigration agents. 

The group called on to extend support of the New Zealand Nurses Organization, the Human Rights Commission, Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and various groups to ask the council to protect qualified Filipino nurses especially those currently in New Zealand discriminated by the new policy from undue rejection.

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