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Nurses' removal from UK list 'temporary' --labor official

Nurses' removal from UK list 'temporary' --labor official

By Veronica Uy
Last updated 07:53pm (Mla time) 07/25/2006

THE United Kingdom's removal of nursing on its shortage list is only temporary, Labor Undersecretary for International Relations Manuel Imson told Tuesday.

“The policy is true, but one that we believe is a very temporary one. (The UK) is merely saying that it is rationalizing the sourcing of its workers,” he explained.

“The fact is employers continue to prefer Filipino nurses. At any time, their choice is always Filipino,” he added.

Nonetheless, Imson said dialogue at the diplomatic level continues.

“We respect their decision. What we're saying is we have available nurses and they still lack nurses, not just in the UK and Ireland but in the entire Europe,” he said.

Imson said there is no danger of losing the UK market.

In fact, he said, “The prospects are increasing. (There are so many who want) Filipino nurses outside the United States. Austria, Germany, and Norway have traditionally hired Filipino nurses whose knowledge and skills have made them acceptable.”

Imson's views were shared by the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA), which said that despite the new UK policy on nursing, the need for nurses in that country is still the same as before.

“The removal of nurses from the occupations shortage list is not equivalent to a complete ban on overseas nurses from seeking employment in the UK...It was simply a move to limit and lessen the opportunity for overseas nurses to seek employment in the UK so as to give locally trained nurses the chance to find employment,” the PNA said in a statement.

The PNA said the same policy does not prevent the UK government health office and the private health sector from hiring people from overseas, particularly nurses.

“As a part of the new regulations, prospective employers are required to show proof that they have sought audience with the local population and have tried their best to recruit locally before being allowed to recruit overseas. Only after having satisfied this local labor test will the UK Home Office conditionally allow overseas nurses to be employed in the UK,” the PNA said.

Michael Duque, PNA president in the UK, admitted that the employment process may become tougher, but noted the increasing need for nurses in the UK cannot be filled by the thousands of home-trained nurses as older nurses are set to retire at the same time.


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