MANILA, March 25, 2011â€”Migrante Aotearoa, a Filipino migrant group based in New Zealand, has warned Filipino nurses planning to work in New Zealand about English language proficiency programs that turned out to be scams.
â€œThe English study scheme has turned out to be a pathway for many Filipino nurses to become heavily indebted migrant professionals who can only get jobs as caregivers in rest-homes rather than nurses in hospitals in New Zealand. The nurses were frustrated that they can hardly pay for heavy loans to pay for coming here as they can only work as caregivers with barely above minimum pay for 20 hours a week. They also struggle paying for very high housing and living costs here. Most of them have had to sell assets back home just to pay for course tuition and exorbitant recruitment fees on the average of NZ$12,000 (P372, 000),â€ said Dennis Maga, Migrante-Aotearoa national coordinator in a statement.
But this scheme isnâ€™t new, said Maga. The migrant leader said that back in 2008, the New Zealand Nursesâ€™ Organization (NZNO) had already cautioned about these English study schemes.
â€œHundreds of Filipino nurses had been enticed with the scheme, and paid thousands of dollars to these colleges and recruitment agencies, only to find out that they have been duped. Most of them are landedâ€”and trappedâ€”to low paying care-giving work,â€ he said.
Most of the schemers promise their â€˜preyâ€™ of high-paying jobs in Christchurch hospitals, Maga explained. The NZNO reported that most of the recruited nurses were promised NZ$50,000 pay for being a nurse. However, when they come to NZ, they are only paid around NZ$30,000â€”a $20,000 drop from the original offer.
What concerns the NZNO more, said Maga is that these colleges are conniving with overseas recruitment agencies, in order to bring the nurses into their â€˜trapâ€™.
â€œIn 2008 the New Zealand Herald also reported that Filipino nurses were brought in to New Zealand on student visas by private English language schools and trained solely for aged care instead of doing bridging courses to become registered nurses. Students were encouraged to take a 24-week English course, at a cost of more than $8000, aimed at getting their nursing registration,â€ Maga said.
On the other hand, Migrante Aotearoa called on other victims of this scheme to report their cases through email@example.com. Migrante-Aotearoa also urged the Philippine and NZ governments to probe deeply into this scheme. (Noel Sales Barcelona)