September 28 Weekly Roundup: Behind The Scenes
There's so much more than meets the eye when it comes to this deployment ban.
Last week’s August 31 deployment ban exemption extension gave us a bit of relief, but its continuous implementation on the rest of the health care workers in the Philippines remains a going concern among overseas healthcare recruitment agencies. It is truly challenging to carry on with our businesses just like before, since it is difficult to plan out campaigns or make commitments to customers when there’s a restriction as indefinite as this.
Rest assured, though, that your agencies are doing everything that they can to help deal with the deployment ban. Some have been visibly stepping up to support the cause of Filipino nurses online. Others have been endlessly lobbying for exemptions, extensions, and other new regulations to help ease its effects. The rest have been doing more quiet, back-end work that the public don’t usually get to see. Our company, for one, has been pulling some strings of our own behind the scenes through:
1. writing out PASEI’s letter to the IATF last June. The Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. is the largest organization of recruitment agencies in the Philippines. As a member of its United Kingdom Desk, Abba was assigned to write out a letter to the IATF encouraging them to lift the deployment ban immediately. We are a writing-oriented company (hence, the weekly roundups!), so it was very fortunate for us to be given such an opportunity. Though we initially intended the letter for the United Kingdom market, the association eventually agreed to use the letter for all of the markets.
In the letter, we lobbied for a total and immediate lifting of the ban, echoing the reasons that FNU President Maristela Abenojar has already mentioned in a previous Zoom meeting. On top of this, we highlighted the deployment ban's impact to the future of nursing in the Philippines. You may access PASEI’s official letter here.
2. being an active participant in relevant meetings and engagements. As the only POEA Awardee of Excellence that specializes in nurse and healthcare recruitment for various countries, it was necessary that we treat meetings as stepping stones towards the lifting of the ban. That’s why it’s important for us to determine two things before we attend each meeting: Our purpose for attending it, and one strong and clear message that we wanted to get across so that the meeting will lead to actual results. In a meeting with one of the country’s biggest nurse associations, for example, Abba was the first to point out that the association hasn’t published any position paper against the deployment ban, whereas it has numerous position papers for other matters. In a meeting with the POEA, Abba also raised its concern with the term “temporary deployment ban”, when there seems to be no attempt or future plan to define when it will eventually end. We hope that the former meeting helped convince the association to publish its position paper, and we also hope that the latter one will generate some good news as well.
3. being part of the social media conversation. We have enhanced the look and content of our social media sites. We have been creating or sharing videos, infographics, and other content that are relevant to Filipino nurses. In fact, we are currently preparing for our first-ever online event, The Quick and Easy Way to U.K. This is a 1-hour Zoom orientation that will feature our quick and easy recipe for IELTS or OET passer RNs to become nurses in the United Kingdom. It will be held on October 9, 2020 from 2-3pm, details of which can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/AbbaUK2020.
For IELTS or OET passer RNs, the U.K. may just be a click and an easy process away.
4. keeping our operations as normal as possible. No matter what happens, recruitment is our raison d’etre, so it will be unwise if we do not focus our energies on it. Getting deployed abroad seems to be the underlying desire of most of the nurses who are fighting the ban, and what better way for a recruitment agency to support them than to maintain its operations?
We have no idea when the ban will be lifted, but we want to make sure that we, our employers and our applicants will be ready for it once it happens. Since March 2020, we have been endlessly sourcing applicants, interviewing candidates, processing documents, and even deploying exempted healthcare workers to keep things progressing. Additionally, we have kept our entire staff employed and have maintained our regular office hours of Mondays through Fridays, 9am – 6pm to be able to carry these out. All of these efforts paid off a bit when the deployment ban exemption cut-off date got extended: Suddenly, we were the agency with the most number of nurses and healthcare workers in our pipeline that can be deployed abroad. This wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t put recruitment as our top priority throughout this period.
Our secret? We never ever stopped--or even toned down--our recruitment!
Advertising our efforts is not a common practice in our company (we have winced several times at this article before posting it), but hopefully, this gives you an idea of what one out of the many recruitment agencies is quietly doing. We all have our ways of dealing with the deployment ban, and these are dependent on our different strengths and capabilities as agencies. Once the deployment ban gets lifted, all of these actions would’ve played a part in it anyway... and isn’t that what everybody wants at the end of the day?