With fewer jobs and less opportunities for nurses in the Philippines, many nurses and nursing students have a desire to work overseas where the salary is better and they feel compensated for their hard work. Some nurses decide to move to Canada for work, while others move to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Middle East and other European countries. Nurses who wish to practice their profession in the United States are unfortunately forced to stay behind, due to retrogression. Many Filipino nurses are looking elsewhere for a brighter future, so let's review the opportunies abroad.
As mentioned, the United States is currently experiencing a shortage of nurses and the situation will worsen in upcoming years, since the baby boomers are retiring and nurses are needed to take over their positions. Foreign nurses are the answer to this shortfall. What is unfortunate, however, is that hospitals cannot easily bring in foreign educated nurses because of the US immigration laws. So how can this be resolved? Legislation is the key, but it is up to Congress and President Barack Obama who promised to bring about change for this problem. Let’s wait and see, since rumours are spreading that congress will act on pending bills that cover the nursing shortage and immigration.
In regards to nursing opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, nurses must have the financial power to pay the fees required to live and work in these countries. You need approximately Php 500,000.00 to cover all expenses including airfare, food, rent and school fees for the bridging program that you must undergo before engaging in full-time practice as a Registered Nurse. Not all Filipino nurses can afford to pay that amount of money. Many chose nursing as a profession because they believed it was the only way to improve their lives and the lives of their families. They did not expect that they would need thousands in order to work abroad. Fortunately though, with many agencies now offering fly now pay later schemes, many are now able to fulfill their dreams of living in these areas. Check out Nursing in Australia: FAQ's.
Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are also popular destinations for nurses. Some choose to work in these countries because they do not want to take the extra licensure and English competency exams needed to be able to work in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, while others use these countries as stepping stones for the western world. Salaries in these regions are very high and are considered top destinations by healthcare providers. You not only receive competitive salaries and benefits, but you also get to enjoy the luxurious wonders of areas such as the Emirates.
Wherever you decide you want to live and work as a nurse, you must also be very careful in selecting a recruitment agency. Many nurses have been victims of fraud by filling out contracts that were not fully implemented as agreed upon while in the Philippines. Nurses can check if the agency is accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). Know your rights and be sure to keep copies of your contract/employment agreement in case you are ever a victim of fraud.
Migration is tough - it involves preparation and awareness. Remember that your career will shape your future, so choose wisely when choosing a country and whether or not to migrate.