A total of 4,600 nurses who were displaced abroad due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are now in the country and are looking for employment here, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday.
Former DOLE secretary and now consultant Marianito Roque said this figure is based on the agency’s OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS) database.
“We found out that there are OFW returnees interested, who are willing to work locally. By analysis, we observed initially 30 percent of those nurses are willing to work. But that’s just initial sampling,” he said in a virtual forum.
He added that there will be adjustments in the hiring of these workers.
“I guess that will be for the hospitals, both government and private, to decide based on the merits and experience that they have. Given that these are very experienced nurses who use more advanced technologies that are available from their past work experiences. So it will be. I guess it will be subject to negotiation. employer-employee negotiation,” Roque added.
The initial number of nurses came from the period of September 2020 up to May 11, 2021.
He added that the bulk of the displaced medical workers originated from the Middle East, where most of the clinics where they used to work have closed.
Aside from nurses, he said workers from other sectors such as construction, shipping among others have returned to the country.
“Many construction workers, service and hotel workers coming from the cruise liners that have been deactivated and we have a lot of engineers. That is the highlight we have seen. It is a hodgepodge of different skills but most of them are household service workers,” Roque said.
The DOLE developed the OASIS, a tracking system for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will return to the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The system, run by the DOLE Command Center, also serves as a reliable database for OFWs displaced by the pandemic to help the government determine and immediately provide the kind of support they need once they land at the country’s airports.
It was developed by DOLE, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.