The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordered anew the temporary suspension on the deployment of newly hired healthcare workers (HCWs) abroad after the 5,000-annual cap has been reached.
In an advisory Saturday, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates (OECs) of newly hired nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants are temporarily suspended.
“In view of the above, the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates and the deployment of new hires for healthcare workers are hereby suspended effective immediately,” Olalia said, citing an order signed on June 1.
The POEA said HCWs who have been issued OECs prior to the reimposition of the deployment ban are exempted and are allowed to proceed to the country they are being employed.
“Healthcare workers who were already issued with their corresponding overseas employment certificates however are allowed to depart for their overseas employment,” it said.
The agency said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is conducting studies and expected to come up with recommendations to the government to increase the 5,000 annual deployment limit.
“The Department of Labor and Employment’s Mission Critical Skills Technical Working Group (MCS-TWG) continually studies and deliberates upon the issues to come up with policy recommendations for submission to the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for consideration or approval,” the advisory said.
Last month, Olalia said most of the countries or the traditional market for the nursing profession have requested an increase — the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand, among others.
In December last year, the POEA lifted the moratorium on the deployment of nurses, nursing aides, and nursing assistants “until it reaches the annual deployment ceiling of 5,000 new hires for healthcare workers.”
The government has decided to limit the deployment of HCWs to ensure that the country has an adequate number of medical workers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. (PNA)