Nurses from Philippines to get more opportunities to work in Canada

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  • More nurses are needed in Canada.

    That’s according to immigration consultancy firm Enhance Visa, citing a demand for at least 60,000 nurses in Canada by 2020.

    The number comes from the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA).

    Occupations listed in Canada’s labor shortage include nurses specializing in burns, dialysis, and cardiology, as well as psychiatric nurses and nurse technicians.

    “The average age of a nurse in Canada is 55 years old. If we don’t get younger nurses into the workforce, there’ll be an even greater gap that the country would need to fill in the future,” said Tony Burke, vice president of the OMNI College of Nursing in Vancouver, Canada during the Canada Nursing Career Expo in Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City last January.

    Enhance Visa, which organized the expo, said it specializes in immigration solutions through its Study to Permanent Residency Pathways in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. OMNI College of Nursing and Enhance Visa have been partners for many years, said Burke. The school specializes in training nurses with skills in line with Canada’s requirements as well as providing language preparation courses for the Canadian Nursing Licensure exam.

    Filipino immigrants to Canada almost doubled from 232,665 in 2001 to 454,335 in 2011. This makes Filipino-Canadians one of the largest foreign-born groups, and the number is growing yearly due to Canada’s more liberal immigration laws to compensate for its low population growth.

    According to its latest Survey on Overseas Filipinos, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that there were 2.44 million overseas Filipino workers in 2015, about five percent more than their ranks in the year before that. About 95,000 were professionals, who accounted for nearly four percent of the group. Laborers and unskilled workers accounted for more than 330,000 or about 14 percent of all overseas Filipino workers. The second largest group were service workers and sales workers, who numbered 177,000 or about seven percent of the group as of 2015.

    Burke said each Canadian province projects to open 2,000 to 4,000 nursing jobs in the next couple of years to address this shortage.

    “The Canadian government has called the nursing shortage a crisis,” Burke said.

    Burke said Canada’s aging population requires more nurses to take care of the elderly, but Canadian universities just can’t produce Canadian-trained nurses fast enough.

    The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has predicted that Canada would be in need of at least 60,000 nurses by 2020 to fill the labor shortage.

    Burke said the best and most effective way to address this gap is to hire internationally educated nurses such as those from the Philippines.

    According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippines produces 200,000 nursing graduates annually, while there are only 2,500 available nursing jobs that await them.
    Because of this surplus, many are forced to work abroad or stay in the Philippines but work in unrelated fields while waiting for a job vacancy.

    However, other countries such as Canada do not recognize nursing education in the Philippines and, therefore, would imply that Filipino nurses in Canada are technically not nurses unless they acquire a Canadian nursing license.

    Burke said the Philippines is OMNI’s second top market, neck and neck in terms of number with India; but what sets Filipino nurses apart from their Indian counterparts is the former’s ability to adjust wherever they go.

    “Filipinos, anywhere they go, they make it and they’re successful. Filipino nurses and Indian nurses both have really good training and experience, but adapting is the biggest difference,” said Burke.

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