A recruitment mission to bring Filipino nurses and health care aides to Manitoba is being touted as an ‘overwhelming success’ by the provincial government, though some say it’s too early to celebrate.
The province says it’s received more than 300 letters from health care workers in the Philippines, accepting job offers in Manitoba’s health-care system. This is the result of a push earlier this year that saw a delegation of Manitoba health care leaders go on a recruitment mission to the Philippines.
“Their goal was to attract registered nurses, licensed practical nurse equivalents and health care aides to come and practise right here in our beautiful province, and I’m pleased to state that the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Health Minister Audrey Gordon told reporters on Tuesday.
She said during the trip, the delegation interviewed and screened more than 400 workers in the Philippines. Candidates needed a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a minimum of two years of experience, and fulfilled their necessary English language proficiency requirements.
Based on those interviews, Gordon said regional health authorities in Manitoba sent 348 job offers to potential candidates overseas.
As of Tuesday, the province has received 309 acceptance letters for job offers in 31 communities across Manitoba. This includes 116 positions in Winnipeg, 64 positions in the Prairie Mountain region, 44 positions in the Southern Health region, 48 positions in the Interlake-Eastern region, and 37 positions in the Northern region.
These candidates will now have to go through the Canadian and Filipino immigration process, and complete clinical competency assessments before they will be allowed to work in Manitoba. To help speed up this process, a team from the University of Manitoba will be going to the Philippines next month so candidates can complete their required clinical competency assessment before they arrive in Manitoba.
“I think it is very positive. We are in a critical nursing shortage,” said Darlene Jackson, the president of the Manitoba Nurses Union. However, she said it is still too early to celebrate.
These job offers are dependent on the candidates successfully completing their clinical competency and English proficiency assessments and navigating the immigration process.
“Those are both pretty big hoops to jump through – those are intense assessments,” Jackson said, adding because of this, it is too early to say how many will actually start working in Manitoba.
“My hope is that they are all successful at those assessments and that it works, and that they are able to come and work in our province. We welcome them.”
She said with about 227 nurse-specific job offers being sent for jobs in the Philippines, there is still a lot of work still needed to deal with the overall shortage in Manitoba.
“Our last vacancies that we looked at were, we have over 2,800 nursing vacancies in this province,” she said. “So even if the 227 are successful, then we still have a huge vacancy rate that we have to cover.”
Provincial health officials say they hope to see some recruits arrive in the early weeks of September. Though that timeline will be different for each candidate depending on what requirements they still need to meet.
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