Manitoba officials headed to Philippines on nurse-recruiting mission
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Manitoba is sending a team of health and immigration officials to the Philippines to recruit hundreds of nurses and health-care workers to the province.
Immigration Minister Jon Reyes will be part of the delegation arriving in the island nation on Feb. 21, with stops scheduled in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo over a five-day period.
The recruitment mission is expected to have broad participation and set the course for “hundreds of qualified internationally educated nurses” to move to Manitoba, according to the province.
Applicants will be pre-screened and employers are specifically seeking out internationally educated nurses who have worked at least two years in a hospital or long-term care. Completion of an internationally recognized English-language test is also an asset.
Conditional offers of employment will be made to successful applicants during the recruitment drive. Offers will also come with a provincial package offering support with travel, immigration costs, credentialing and mentorship.
“I’m very proud to be a member of Manitoba’s large and dynamic Filipino community, and long history of recruiting health-care providers from the Philippines,” Reyes said in a release.
“The community and history in this province is vital to our recruitment of new Filipino health-care providers who want to build a stronger future for themselves and their families.”
Reyes is also expected to advance relationships with the Philippines government and expand on existing labour agreements while in the country.
The Manitoba government previously announced its intention to recruit nurses from the Philippines as part of its $200 million health human resources action plan.
Manitoba Nurses Union president Darlene Jackson said demand for nurses — including those overseas — is high and the provincial government will be in a crowded labour market.
“Although Manitoba’s situation is worse than most, the reality is that we’re not the only ones competing in the nursing marketplace,” Jackson said. “However, if it delivers as promised, we will take any help we can get.”
Health Minister Audrey Gordon said the Progressive Conservative government will work with the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba to have “these highly sought-after nurses join the workforce more quickly.”
“Processes must be consistent with other leading jurisdictions across the country, and to achieve this the Manitoba government will continue to work with the colleges to innovate, adapt and generally reduce barriers for (internationally educated nurses) already living in Manitoba, while maintaining requirements necessary for care and safety,” Gordon said in a release.
The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, meanwhile, is undertaking work to support the recruitment initiative. It has also collaborated with employers to create a regulatory framework for internationally educated nurses referred for additional courses to have supervised employment opportunities, similar to those available to Manitoba undergraduate nursing students.
According to the college, the initiative is unique to Manitoba and is in the implementation stage with provincial and regional health authorities.
“The college is working to find solutions that reduce the amount of time applicants spend in the process, while making certain the public’s expectations of safe nursing care continue to be met,” said Deb Elias, the college’s registrar.
In a release, the province said 23 nurses have joined Manitoba’s health-care system since the government ordered the college to remove a requirement for internationally educated nurses licensed in other jurisdictions to be subject to further testing.
On Wednesday, the college disputed that assertion, saying 14 applicants were already registered as licensed practical nurses in Manitoba, and six currently list a nursing agency as an employer on their regulatory profile.
“Overall, this means only nine new individuals were added to the RN register in Manitoba, and that does not guarantee they are working in the public system, only that they are eligible to work in the province,” Elias said in a statement.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.