1st batch of JPEPA nurses off to Japan this week

By Raymund F. Antonino
The first batch of nurses and caregivers who have been hired under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) are ready to be deployed to Japan this weekend, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Tuesday.

POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said some 358 nurses and caregivers have been given employment and training opportunities in Japan although that country is in recession at this time.

“The nurses and caregiver candidates for Japan will leave the country either on May 8 or May 9. They had reported to the POEA for contract signing and already submitted their respective requirements,” she said.

However, the number of recruited medical workers declined from the supposed annual target of 500 after some hospitals and nursing care facilities there reduced costs due to the global financial crisis, she added.

“Those applicants who did not make it but are pre-qualified can join the second batch of nurses and caregivers to be deployed next year,” Manalili said.

Under the agreement, the skills of local nurses and caregivers are matched by JICWELS (Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services) to the manpower requirements of hospitals in that country. The Filipinos also have to take language training courses for a half a year prior to their actual work.

During the training, the candidates who are covered by a job contract will receive allowances of not less than 40,000 yen or more than P21,000 per month. Their employer or the Japanese government will shoulder their travel costs apart from the onsite training expenses.

Manalili said the salaries of the newly hired Filipino nurses and caregivers are equivalent to the pay of their Japanese counterparts with similar tasks.

The POEA will commence the recruitment of another batch of 200 Filipino nurses and 300 caregivers for Japan under the JPEPA by 2010.

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