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Obstacles to entry of RP nurses to Japan exist despite trade agreement, lawmaker says

Obstacles to entry of RP nurses to Japan exist despite trade agreement, lawmaker says

SENATE Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. has expressed apprehension that the promise of jobs for Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japanese hospitals and other health institutions “may turn out to be an illusion” in view of the stringent requirements for the hiring of foreign medical professionals and the vigorous objection to their entry by the Japanese Nursing Association (JNA).

n exchange for the liberalized entry of Japanese goods into the Philippines, including industrial waste under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), Tokyo has allowed Japanese hospitals to recruit Filipino nurses and caregivers but not more than 400 during the initial year of implementation of the accord.

Pimentel said the strict requirements imposed by Japan are bound to discourage Filipino health workers, who have the option to apply for jobs in other countries where they have better chances of being hired.

“I understand the rationale for our nurses to undergo formal training in Nippongo but we find the other requirements exclusive,” he said.

Worse, Pimentel said, Japanese nursing professionals have vowed to block the influx of Filipino nurses and caregivers for fear that this may cause a downgrading of employment standards, including a lowering of compensation.

“That seems to be the core of the problem of Jpepa. We are getting less than what we bargained for,” Pimentel said.

According to Pimentel, the Philippines is supposedly promised a certain number of nurses who could go to Japan under the agreement. “But now it looks like we won’t get anything but garbage.”

He said it’s obvious that Japanese nurses fear that the entry of their Filipino counterparts may create certain disadvantages for them, including stiffer competition for available nursing positions.

Pimentel said even the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) is unhappy over the Tokyo’s tight requirements for Filipino nurses which would make it difficult for them to penetrate the Japanese labor market.

In a-position-paper on the Jpepa, the PNA feared that Filipino nurses may face a lot of discrimination and are likely to be treated as second-class professionals by being given jobs as nursing assistants. It is said Filipino health workers may even end up becoming entertainers or “japayukis” for lack of better opportunities.

The Jpepa will supposedly allow a year-on-year quota of an unspecified number of Filipino nurses and caregivers who will be employed in Japan. Nurses will be allowed to stay in Japan up to three years, and caregivers, up to four years.

However, Pimentel said if it turns out that the requirements imposed by Japan are difficult for Filipino workers to comply with, the treaty sent by Malacañang on November 20 to the Senate may have difficulty getting approved.

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