The ceiling on the annual overseas deployment of health care workers (HCWs) has been raised to 6,500 from the current 5,000, Malacañang announced Friday.
This developed after members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) agreed Thursday to increase the annual deployment cap of new hire HCWs, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
“The Inter-Agency Task Force on (June 17) increased the annual deployment ceiling of new hire healthcare workers (HCWs) for Mission Critical Skills to 6,500,” Roque said.
HCWs falling under MCS with perfected contracts as of May 31, 2021, will form part of the adjusted ceiling, Roque said.
HCWs under government-to-government labor agreements, Roque said, are exempted from the new deployment cap.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the temporary suspension on the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates of new medical workers overseas after the 5,000 annual cap was reached on June 1.
On June 7, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III sought to increase the cap on the overseas deployment of HCWs to 10,000 from the current 5,000.
The deployment cap was merely temporary to ensure that the country has a sufficient number of HCWs amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The country has a total of 695,928 physicians and nurses, according to the data from the Professional Regulation Commission and the Department of Health’s Human Resource Information System.
Around 250,000 of the 695,298 registered nurses and physicians are known to be practicing in health facilities in the country, while around 90,000 have been tagged as having unspecified practices.
The 90,000 deemed as having unspecified practices are either unemployed, practicing in other fields, undocumented migrants, or not captured by existing registries.
As of April 2021, the country needs 303,080 nurses nationwide.
However, only 183,491 are currently practicing their profession resulting in a 120,000 gap between supply and demand, according to the data from the Labor department’s Bureau of Employment.