The Best Country for a Filipino Nurse
It all comes down to careful research and deliberation.
Which country would you most recommend to a Filipino nurse?
This is one of the trickiest questions that we often get from applicants who are still unsure with where they should apply. An Abba Recruiter will have a natural bias for the country of the employer that she’s currently serving but as a company, we’d say it really depends. In our more than two decades of recruiting nurses and healthcare professionals, we have understood the huge influence of a job opportunity’s destination to its attractiveness to applicants. That’s why when we prospect for new clients, we make sure that their country’s laws, culture, political environment and other traits are also just as desirable as their company to work at.
Desirability of a country, however, is highly subjective: A trait that can be considered beneficial to one nurse doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else. Factors such as present credentials, civil status, religion, willingness to spend, and even simple personal preference have led to Filipino nurses pursuing careers in different countries because of their varying needs and wants.
To make the choosing easier for you, here are the most notable advantages of the regions and countries that we deploy Filipino nurses to.
THE WESTERN COUNTRIES
If permanently settling overseas is your ultimate goal, then applying to a Western country like the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany or Ireland can be good for you. These countries have flexible migration policies so becoming a permanent resident is a real possibility. You will also be allowed to petition for your spouse and children so that they can join you abroad in the near future!
On top of this, these countries offer other progressive advantages. They offer relatively higher salaries versus countries in other regions. They discourage the use of gender, age, civil status and nationality filters when it comes to screening nurses. They encourage fair treatment among foreign workers in that a Filipino nurse and a local one will get equal compensation and benefits, as long as they have the same credentials. They reimburse many of the application costs that the nurse has spent for once she starts working with them. They prevent the collection of placement fees from applicants by paying competitive service fees to their recruitment agencies. All of them (except for Germany) use English as one of their primary languages so Filipino nurses find it easier to communicate and adapt to their environment.
United States of America
Unlike most countries, the U.S.A. issues immigrant visas to foreign nurses from the very start. With this, a nurse gets to enjoy the legal, medical and social benefits of being an immigrant even if it’s only her first time to work in the U.S. She also earns salary by the hour, so she immediately gets compensated for any additional hour spent in the hospital.
Since cars are the ideal mode of transportation in many U.S. states, employers usually provide car plans to its employees. These car plans come with reasonable payment plans and easy registration procedures so that foreign workers can easily get one as they travel to and from work.
More importantly, the U.S. has one of the most significant nurse shortages in the world. Nurses have a wide variety of options to choose from in the U.S. as there is high demand for nurses, especially in the middle states.
It is not surprising for a Filipino nurse to get deployed to the United Kingdom within a year: After a nurse surpasses the most difficult hurdle of passing the IELTS or OET, she’ll pretty much have an easier time with the rest of the process.
Salaries in the U.K. may seem less flexible since they’re standardized across all Trusts and are classified into “bands” based on annual—instead of hourly or monthly—rates. However, the country’s minimal working hours (37.5 hours per week) actually make these rates quite competitive on an hourly basis, and has even led U.K. nurses to the popular habit of taking overtime shifts for additional income.
Lastly, the U.K. does not only have a significant nurse shortage: Its nursing board, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, is a pretty proactive institution that’s doing everything in its power to alleviate the situation. In just a few years’ time, the NMC has made the application process for foreign nurses more convenient through lowering score requirements in the language exam and making the process less costly and more efficient. The NMC is continuously pushing for further improvements so nurses can expect an even faster and easier process in the near future.
Few people are aware that Germany comes in second to the U.S. as the most popular migration destination in the world. This is a significant statistic, considering that the country uses a language that is not very familiar to many immigrants.
Such is the case because Germany’s laws are encouraging for immigrants: It allows foreign workers to bring their spouses and children to the country after 6 months of employment, even if they’re still on work visas. This makes their transition to overseas living more bearable, and benefits Filipino workers the most because of their close family ties. Additionally, the country’s progressive economy enables its government to provide generous healthcare and educational benefits to foreign workers, making it an ideal destination to work at and raise a family.
Ireland offers the typical advantages of working in a Western country, minus the long and tedious process that usually goes with it: As the Philippines’ number 1 deployer of nurses to Ireland, we can attest that an IELTS or OET passer nurse can be deployed to this European country in as fast as 2 months!
A nurse also has more options when it comes to getting her license to practice in Ireland: She can either take the RCSI nurse licensure exam here in the Philippines, or go through an adaptation program with her employer in Ireland for a number of weeks. Filipino nurses tend to prefer the latter since they get to work in Ireland sooner and are able to earn competitive salaries earlier.
Salaries in Ireland are standardized across hospitals. This is beneficial to a greater quantity of Filipino nurses being processed for Ireland, given that vacancies rarely come up in the sought-after city of Dublin: They get to earn the same rate yet at a lower cost of living since they are working outside of this busy capital.
THE MIDDLE EAST
For all Filipinos, being with family is extremely important: For many, being with them in their home country is a non-negotiable option. This is why despite opportunities for permanent residency in other countries, there are still Filipino nurses who pursue careers in the Middle East. The region’s practice of offering job opportunities on a contractual basis is aligned with their ultimate desire: To earn money while working abroad for a temporary period, then go back home to their families in the Philippines. Throughout this time, Filipino nurses are able to save significant amounts of money as they earn tax-free salaries and enjoy free living provisions (accommodation, transportation, and sometimes even meals). They either remit a portion of their earnings to their families while working abroad or save them up until the end of their contracts for spending back home. The nurses also enjoy abundant vacation leaves, allowing them to spend some time with their loved ones in the Philippines for a number of months. Even when they’ve finished their contracts and have already gotten back to the Philippines, many of them will most likely work abroad again and go through this same course.
Saudi Arabia hast the most deployments of Filipino workers because it also has the most number of contractual vacancies for them at any given time. Filipinos comprise a very significant percentage of its population that Tagalog was found to be the second most spoken language in the country! Here, Filipino nurses find a home away from home due to the sheer number of fellow kababayans that they are working with. They need not worry about a shortage in opportunities as well because the country always has a demand for nurse professionals.
Additionally, almost all registered Filipino nurses pass its licensure exam. This may infer that the education, training and experience of nurses in the Philippines are consistent with the requirements of Saudi Arabia.
United Arab Emirates
The U.A.E. is considered the “Melting Pot of the Middle East” due to its highly diverse population: Its capital, Abu Dhabi, epitomizes this as Filipinos and other expatriates account for 80% of them! Here, nurses can enjoy the benefits of working in the Middle East, while working in a multicultural environment with a general openness to people and ideas from all over the world. It is also the Middle East country that regularly has opportunities for male nurses.
Moreover, U.A.E. employers are known for paying the most competitive salaries in the region. To date, the U.A.E. nurse application process is also considered the most cost-efficient one in the region.
Time and again, Qatar has ranked as the country with the highest per capita income in the world, thanks to its strong and expanding economy. With this, nurses can expect to work in a modern and progressive country that is conducive to aggressive career advancement and a satisfactory quality of living.
Qatar is also known for paying relatively competitive salaries to its nurses and for having nurse vacancies every now and then.
Take note that these are generalizations about the countries that we currently serve, and should not, in any case, solely dictate which country will be best for you. Other features about these countries—such as weather and political climate--weren’t even included in our summaries. Many other factors come into play when it comes to a work destination’s compatibility with you. Whatever you end up with, just make sure that you’ve arrived at it through careful research and deliberation.
Karla Yu is the Special Projects Officer of Abba Personnel Services, Inc. She joined the team last August 2016 and has pioneered several projects ever since, such as the company's Marketing standards and practices; the Abba.ph Apply Online System; and Abba's sister company Tracker, an overseas licensing agency. She was a former brand management practitioner handling internationally-recognized brands, such as URC's C2 Cool and Clean and McDonald's Breakfast / 24 Hours. She is an Honorable Mention graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University's BS Communications Technology Management curriculum, and was one of the business course's top 10 students.