550 applicants in Japan placement shortlist

By Samuel Medenilla - mb.com.ph
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has reported that 550 applicants have made it in the shortlist for the third batch of its placement program with Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).
POEA Administrator Carlos Cao said in the media forum that 300 of the applicants were nurses, while 250 were caregivers. He said the number of applicants will be further reduced to 137, which is the target number of nurses and caregivers to be deployed in Japan.
Meanwhile, POEA Welfare Deployment Office Director Nimfa De Guzman said in an interview that about 145 of the applicants for this year are from provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, which is higher compared to the previous two batches.
JPEPA is an elaborate bilateral economic cooperation pact signed by the Philippines with Japan in 2008. This includes a job order of nurses and caregivers. Under the agreement Filipino nurses and caregivers are required to undergo six-month training in Japan and take a mandatory licensure exam before they are permanently employed in Japanese hospitals.
Cao said they expect a higher number of applicants will be able to finish the direct-hiring scheme, after the Japanese International Corporation of Welfare Services (JICWELS) representatives said it will implement reforms in the language training program and mandatory examination.
“We have asked our Japanese counterparts to make adjustments without necessarily lowering the standards but to make it reasonable for Filipino applicants,” he said.
Among the reforms implemented for the program are the additional Japanese language training here in the Philippines aside from the classes, which will be held in Japan, and the inclusion of English translation of some technical terms in the Japanese licensure exam for nurses and caregivers.
De Guzman said the interview of the applicants will start on Feb. 3 to 7 at their regional centers while the deployment to Japan of the final list of candidates will be in May.