By Llanesca T. Panti
Spain, despite suffering from the global economic crisis, was still in need of foreign nurses including Filipinos, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday.
The Foreign Affairs department made the announcement shortly after the arrival of 27 Filipino nurses in Bilbao who will be deployed in northern Spain. Their deployment is the result of the Memorandum of Understanding on Migration Flows that the Philippines and Spain signed in June 2006.
Under the memorandum, nurses and other highly skilled Filipino workers are to be allowed into Spain and afforded the same protection enjoyed by Spanish workers.
“Notwithstanding the economic crisis [at present] in Spain, the demand for foreign nurses [there] remains high,” the Foreign Affairs department said.
“In fact, the Philippine Embassy is already talking with prospective Spanish employers on the employment of more Filipinos in the health sector,” it added. According to the department, there are about 190 Filipino nurses working in the Madrid area.
The 27 Filipino nurses, the first batch to be employed through the memorandum, will initially work as nursing assistants and caregivers in four Basque homes for the elderly (Residencias de Mayores) operated by Urgatzi, Igurco, Residencial Aulaga and Olimpia Bass. They will have a one-year renewable contract.
The Spanish Ministry of Education will then evaluate, for accreditation purposes, the nursing degrees within six to nine months. After getting the official accreditation, the Filipino nurses will be able to practice their profession and earn the same salary as regular Spanish nurses.
Earlier, the embassy held a briefing for the 27 newly employed Filipino nurses and extended consular services to Filipino residents in the Getxo-Bilbao area in Basque Country.
During the briefing, an embassy delegation led by Chargé d’Affaires Celia Anna Feria discussed the salient aspects of Basque culture and society, as well as Spanish labor laws and conditions. With her were Consul Marciano de Borja, Labor Attaché Ramon Tionloc and Welfare Officer Ma. Consolacion Marquez.
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