Filipino nurses eye UK, Middle East markets

Filipino nurses are reportedly choosing other countries over the United States for employment. “The deepening recession in America has clearly diminished the desire of some Filipino nurses to seek employment there,” said former senator Ernesto Herrera, secretary general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Herrera said that a total of 8,272 Filipino nurses sought to practice their profession in the US by taking the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX for the first time from January to June. 

The figure, according to Herrera, was 1,565 fewer compared to the 9,837 who took the exam in the same six-month period in 2008.

Pinoy nurses are reportedly trying out other foreign labor markets particularly the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

“Actually, fewer nurses from India, Korea, Canada and Cuba are seeking US jobs as well,” Herrera said.

Nurses from India who took the NCLEX for the first time in the first semester were down 56 percent (to 750 from 1,715). Those from South Korea were down 35 percent (to 613 from 934); from Canada down 36 percent (to 314 from 494); and from Cuba down 38 percent (to 192 from 309).

The TUCP said that the four countries are the other top suppliers of foreign nurses to America.

In the whole of 2008, there were a total of 20,746 Filipino nurses who took the NCLEX for the first time or down 3.5 percent compared to the 21,299 Pinoy nurses that took the test for the first time in 2007.

Filipino accounted for 37 percent of the 22,500 foreign-educated nurses who took the NCLEX for the first time in the first semester, according to Herrera.

The Philippines now has some 600,000 nurses actively looking for jobs here and abroad, or forced to perform work outside their profession. They include the 99,837 who passed the local nursing licensure examinations from July 2008 to July 2009.

The government tapped 10,000 of the Filipino nurses and deployed them under the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS). It allows nurses to serve in the country’s depressed municipalities for six months in return for a monthly allowance of P8,000. - via