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Australia has exported jobs to the Philippines through the call center market. Australia now in the middle of a aged care and health workforce crisis, could bring in workers from the Philippines to resolve the crisis and benefit both countries and continue on the long relationship spanning over 70 years.\n\nSource:

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australian companies offshore call centres

Australian Companies Offshore Call

Centres to the Philippines: Why not

Onshore Their Healthcare Workers to

Resolve Our Worker Shortage Crisis?

The Philippines began speaking English at the turn of the 20th century after the

Philippine-American War. Now the nation is bilingual with both English and

Filipino as official languages for communication and instruction. Read more

here. Filipinos speak a variety of English similar to American English. At school

English is taught as one of the two official languages right from the beginning.

English is the language of instruction in higher education and highly technical

subjects such as nursing, medicine, computing, mathematics, engineering and

sciences are all taught in English. English is therefore used in religious affairs,

print and broadcast media, the law, the courts and business. As a result, most

Filipinos are bilingual and speak English as one of their languages.

as a matter of fact the philippines is the fourth

As a matter of fact, the Philippines is the fourth largest English speaking

country in the world after the United States, India and Pakistan (in terms of

population). A 2008 survey conducted by a US entity known as Promoting

English Proficiency (PEP) found that 76% of Filipinos understood English, 75%

read English, 61% could write in English, 46% could speak English and 38%

claimed to think in English. This is the reason why Australian companies like

TPG and many others have been off-shoring call centres to the Philippines for

many years.

The Philippines produces some of the best qualified nurses, who are taught in

English and their level of training is aligned to international standards. To

become a registered nurse a trainee must pass a multitude of exams that are

similar to those set in the UK and the USA. Those are very high standards.

Did you know that the Philippines exports nurses (and other professionals)

internationally because it has too few jobs? Yes, the Philippines is the largest

exporter of nurses to the USA, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the

Netherlands, Ireland and other markets. This is the result of the Philippine

government’s strategy in the 1970s (under Ferdinand Marcos) to export

contract labour to beat unemployment and its balance of payments crisis. In

2013 alone 1.8 million migrant workers including nurses, were exported to

more than 190 countries. Skills export provides much needed foreign currency

income which rose from US$291 million in 1978 to US$10.7 billion in 2005

(Tarriela 2006). Most of this is contributed by nurses who make up the largest

group of professional workers abroad.

The growing demand for nurses in the Philippines and abroad has created a

rapidly growing nursing education sector. Right now there are about 460

nursing colleges that offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program

and graduate approximately 20,000 nurses annually (CHED 2006). Because the

Philippines’ own demand is not growing, they produce a net surplus of

registered nurses every year.

Considering the shortage of nurses in Australia, we too can import nurses from

the Philippines where there is a surplus. To migrate to Australia they must pass

IELTS at 7 or above. The International English Language Testing System, IELTS,

is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for people

who speak English as a second language. It is one of the major English language

tests in the world, accepted by most Australian, British, New Zealand and

Canadian academic institutions and by various professional organisations

across the world. It is required for immigration to Australia and New Zealand.

Passing IELTS at band 7 means one is a good user of the English language, 8

means one is a very good user while 9 means one is an expert user. Because

Filipinos learn the English language from primary school up to tertiary level

and use the language every day at work, they will not have problems passing

the ielts let us not limit our use of the skills

the IELTS. Let us not limit our use of the skills available in the Philippines only

to call centres. Let us get the nurses here too.

Australia can easily become a competitive destination for nurses. What is

happening is that when Filipinos go to some countries, instead of working in

hospitals as nurses they are forced to work as 24-hour domestic workers who

clean, cook and care for children, the disabled and the elderly in the homes of

the rich. Others are forced to work for nursing agencies which take part of their

earnings as commission. That is exploitation, something that the nurses do not

expect because they are promised hospital jobs. In some other countries

especially in the Middle East, promises of salaries, affordable housing costs and

free tickets turn out to be false. There is contract substitution where the nurses

are asked to sign new contracts with less pay and more work including

domestic duties. Filipino nurses are being abused! Read more… As we speak, on

February 13, 2018, the president of the Philippines called for the repatriation of

all Filipinos working in Kuwaiti because of stories of abuse and the discovery of

the dead bodies of Filipinos abused in Kuwaiti.

Australia can do better than that! Here is an opportunity to offer lucrative

contracts to people who are unhappy where they are working. If we can offer

the nurses better working conditions and provide those working conditions

that they sign up for, we will attract the nurses from the countries where they

are being abused. We can place them in all the hospitals and clinics where

shortages exist and make sure that they have good working and living


Our shortage of manpower is not limited to nurses. We are experiencing

shortages in the whole of the healthcare industry. Already the rollout of the

NDIS is experiencing shortages of allied healthcare professionals in some areas.

Demand for care givers for the aged is growing as well in Australia. The

population of aged people is growing because life expectancy improved greatly

in the last 60 years or so. The aging population, which is growing steadily, also

suffers from chronic diseases and disabilities which demand special care. We

need an increasing number of care givers for the disabled and the aging and it

is difficult for our nation to train them fast enough.

The solution for the growing demand for care givers may lie in the Philippines.

We can make bilateral agreements with the Philippines whereby we provide

Australian training for the aged and the disabled and then import the graduates

to come and work in Australia. Already such an arrangement exists at

institution level. Certificate III in Aged Care at Charlton Brown Partner

Institutions in the Philippines is an Australian qualification that trains people

to become Assistant to Nursing, Personal Care Assistant, Community Support

Worker or Home Care Assistant. The theoretical component is offered in the

Philippines. Then the students come to Australia to further their studies (on the

job training in the community service sector

job training) in the Community Service Sector under Subclass 572 Visa. They

receive the Certificate III in Aged Care upon completing both the theoretical

and practical components of the course.

Knowing about the growing demand for disability and aged care, the

government can offer training to Filipinos via their own colleges in the

Philippines, then import the graduates to come and work with the disabled and

the aged. As long as Australia provides good working conditions, they can

retain most of these workers for many years.

Training and importing care givers is not the only alternative. We can take

advantage of the growing trend in nursing care tourism. It is not yet advanced

in the Philippines but it is well established in Thailand. Rich western countries

send their aged to homes in the Far East to countries like Thailand and the

Philippines that cost half the cost that they pay in their country per month.

Besides the lower cost that stretches family savings longer, the destination

countries offer warmer climates that are good for health. Americans are

sending their elderly to South America for the same reason. We can consider

nursing care tourism as an alternative too. Then we do not spend money on

training care givers or employing them; we simply pay monthly care fees at the

partner homes in the Philippines.

It is true that Australia is already suffering from a shortage of healthcare

workers and that demand for healthcare workers is increasing every year.

Australia can forge relationships with the Philippine government and create a

bilateral agreement in which Filipino nurses can get work permits to work in

Australia. Right now is the best time to do it since the Philippine government

has put a ban on Filipinos working in Kuwaiti. The agreement between Australia

and the Philippines can extend to the training of care workers who can then get

work permits in Australia. Not to be ignored is nursing tourism where we can

send our elderly people who need frail care to live in nursing homes in the

Philippines at a much lower cost per month than is charged by domestic

nursing homes. Imagine the impact on our healthcare budget!