EuroFilipino Journal Jan-March 2007
UK Filipino nurses seek job security - the American Dream
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by Cynthia Barker

UK-based Filipino Nurses, faced with hostile immigration policy and cash strapped NHS Trusts are increasingly looking to start a new life in the USA.

Whilst British Government are restricting immigration with tighter rules and removing nurses from the ‘shortage occupations’ list, the situation in America couldn’t be more different.

The United States needs over one million nurses and, unlike the UK, can offer long term job security and permanent residence to nurses and their families. An ageing population and a growing need for healthcare means that their need for more nurses will continue for the next 20 years.

Thousands of overseas nurses working for the NHS are facing the threat of redundancy or non-renewal of contracts. This, coupled with the Home Office decision to raise the term for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ from 4 to 5 years without warning in April, has prompted many nurses to once again look for better job opportunities abroad.

Bison UK, a leading UK recruitment firm, is launching a USA nursing programme in January 2007 to help nurses who wish to relocate to America.

Charles Kelly, Managing Director of Bison UK said:

"Nurses are understandably concerned about their future here. We are receiving calls every day from our ‘Bison Babies’, those nurses we have helped come to the UK over the past 7 years, who are desperately worried about their jobs and government immigration policy.

"Hardly a day goes by without reading something about changing rules, immigration crackdowns, the ‘Points Based System’ or NHS job cuts.

"We feel a sense of responsibility towards our nurses as we have encouraged them, and in some cases their entire family, to start a new life in the UK. Unfortunately, the tide of immigration has turned against us, which is why we are launching the USA scheme in January to give nurses the opportunity to find greener pastures."

What can nurses expect working in America?

Well, for one thing a much better standard of living. Salaries are higher and the cost of living is lower. Earnings vary depending on which state you choose to work in, but salaries of $50,000 to $60,000 are not uncommon. Most hospitals offer the following:

Competitive salaries

Excellent benefits

Safe working environment

Innovative health services

Cutting edge technologies

Mentorship

The United States is not so much a country as a vast continent with the population and size similar to the whole of Europe. The cost of living can vary wildly between different cities. For instance, a nurse earning $22.00 per hour in Houston, Texas would have to earn $27.50 per hour in Boston and $43.00 in San Francisco to enjoy the same standard of living.

What are the requirements?

You will have to pass NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) to become registered as a nurse in the United Sates. Most recruitment agencies offer candidates a training programme to help them pass the exam which can now be taken in the UK.

Nurses will also be expected to pass the English test and have at least two years nursing experience.

The main drawback to going to the United States has always been the long processing time, which is why many Filipinos opted to come to the UK. A team of leading US based Immigration Lawyers have been hired to smooth the visa process and bring waiting times down to as little as one year.

Many Filipinos have relatives or some connections in America and you will not find yourself alone. Millions of Filipinos have already made it in the land of opportunity.

Further details on the ‘Nurses-to-USA’ programme will be released later this month on their website www.nursejobamerica.com

If you have any specific questions or comments, or need advise, please email me at cbarker@immigrationmatters.co.uk

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