New markets are emerging for Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs) amid the global coronavirus crisis, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Thursday.
“During the pandemic, the number of other countries in our Asean is increasing, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In the Middle East, there is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Kuwait. They need a large number of nurses. Bahrain and Oman, the demand for nurses continue to grow,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in a virtual forum.
He, however, said the top destinations also continue to hire Filipino HCWs.
“Our top destination countries before the pandemic, Saudi Arabia was there. They are the leaders. Then there is the UK, and then Germany and then Japan. They are the four partners when it comes to the deployment of HCWs,” Olalia said.
On the other, he said the signing of bilateral labor agreements (BLA) between the Philippines and host countries is needed only when the deployment is vulnerable to abuses.
“Our existing or prevailing policy is that when our deployment is vulnerable to abuses, there must be a BLA. We have a bilateral labor agreement in order to protect the rights of our OFWs and promote their welfare,” Olalia said.
He added that a BLA is not required for the employment of skilled workers or professionals.
“When it comes to professionals and skilled workers, BLA is no longer necessary because they are expected or anticipated to be able to protect themselves and of course safeguard their interest. Our government will just help. We will give them guidance on what their rights are,” he added.