The Philippines will allow thousands of health care workers, mostly nurses, to work in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate coronavirus vaccines, according to a senior official.
The Philippines, which has one of the highest rates of coronavirus in Asia, has “relaxed” the ban on healthcare workers abroad, but continues to limit the number of healthcare professionals allowed to 5,000 per year. leave the country.
Alice Wisperas, director of the Labor Department's international affairs office, said the Philippines was open to lifting the ceiling in exchange for vaccines from Britain and Germany, which they would use to vaccinate workers leaving for work. in other countries and hundreds of thousands of Filipinos repatriated.
Nurses are among the millions of Filipinos working abroad, offering more than $ 30 billion a year in remittances that are vital to the country's economy.
“We are considering the request to lift the growth ceiling, based on an agreement,” Visepras told Reuters.
Britain has the sixth highest number of deaths from Covid-19 in the world and has suffered one of the worst financial blows from the pandemic, while Germany has the 10th highest number of cases worldwide.
The two countries have both vaccinated 23 million people, while the Philippines has not yet begun the immunization campaign of its 70 million adults, two-thirds of its 108 million inhabitants, and is awaiting the first batch of vaccines this week. , donated by China.
The Philippines wants to secure a total of 148 million doses.
The British embassy in Manila has so far not responded to a request for comment, nor has the German mission in that country yet responded.
In 2019, nearly 17,000 nurses from the Philippines signed employment contracts abroad, according to government figures.
Although nurses in the Philippines have struggled to break the ban to avoid poor working conditions and low wages in the country, this vaccine plan has not been well received by some workers in the sector.
“We are disgusted with the way nurses and healthcare workers are treated by the government as commodities or export products,” Jocelyn Andamo, secretary general of the Association of Filipino Nurses, told Reuters.