Austria welcomes the new batch of Filipino nurses

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In times of an emerging shortage of skilled nursing staff throughout Austria, looking abroad offers a promising approach to recruiting dedicated professionals.

After months of preparation, The PH Embassy in Vienna, led by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Irene Susan B. Natividad, in cooperation with PH Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Milan, was able to welcome the newest batch of Filipino healthcare professionals to Austria.

A breakfast reception took place on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at the Philippine Embassy in Vienna as a welcome gesture for the newly arrived Filipino nurses.

A Post Arrival Orientation Seminar was also conducted by POLO Milan Labor Attache Maria Corina P. Buñag for the newly arrived nurses to facilitate their integration into the country.

Qualified and motivated:

The recruitment of skilled workers from the Philippines is a promising component in counteracting the nationwide shortage of skilled workers in nursing. Specialized agencies and programs supported by the Austrian government help medical facilities in Austria to recruit qualified personnel from abroad and overcome bureaucratic hurdles. Kathe Cabrera, Ronnell Anne Alfonso, Hillary Reginio, Cherry Mae Bayaca, Leslie Larga, and four more new Pinoy nurses who arrived this week will be starting their service in some partner hospital homes for the aged in Upper Austria. They were recruited mainly with the help of C and C Human Resource Development, a European-based Recruitment Agency working with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. The agency, under Mr. Matthias Hallerbach, is a certified agency and is intensively prepared for the arrival of the new batch of Pinoy nurses. This included language courses, lessons in cultural interaction, formalities support, and travel organization.

“We would like to thank all the stakeholders of this program, the Chamber of Commerce in Vienna, the Austrian government, the Philippine government, POEA, and Polo. They all work very hard together to make this happen. After so many years, there are finally Filipino nurses again in Austria. We have a Europe-based recruitment agency; we have assisted the nurses in learning the language since this is one of the main requirements they must fulfill. They have to learn the language up to the level that is called  B1. This usually takes them 7 to 9 months. With the experience we gain from the pilot program, we can extend and scale it. We have training capacities in the Philippines. We teach and to also deploy hundreds of nurses in the next couple of years, “Matthias Hallerbach of the C and C Human  Resource Development said.

Doris Kollar-Plasser, Regional Chief, Stiftung Liebenau, takes care of the needs of new nurses.

“The nurses will be stationed in Upper Austria, specifically in Gmunden on the Traunsee in Salzkammergut. They have their respective apartments, which we rented from the Liebenau Foundation. As soon as they get their temporary residence visa, they can start working in the old and nursing homes in Kloster Nazareth, Stiftung Liebenau, and Haus St. Josef in Gmunden, “Kollar-Plasser said.

The Regional Chief of the Stiftung Liebenau is delighted to welcome Filipino nurses here in Austria.

“We offer them an excellent place to work here so they can work and stay here permanently. Their families are also welcome. They have a secure job here in Austria and good working conditions, “Kollar-Plasser added.

Mag. Maximilian Buchleitner, Chief of International Skilled Workers Offensive, Austrian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed his gratitude to the team behind the pilot deployment of Filipino nurses in Austria.

“Today marks the welcome of the first Filipina nurses coming to Austria here at the embassy in Vienna; it is an excellent opportunity to welcome these nurses to Vienna. It is a great opportunity for Filipino nurses because we have a huge demand for skilled labor in Austria, especially in the health sector. We expect in the next eight years demand of 75,000 health care workers. So we are delighted and proud to welcome these Filipino nurses in Vienna, “Buchleitner said.

On the part of the nurses, there is a mixture of eagerness and enthusiasm for their new place of work.

Kathe Cabrera from Cebu, Philippines, found it difficult to learn German, especially since she had to work simultaneously.

Yong pag-learn ng German.. iyon ang  yung mahirap kasi nagwork pa kami. Tapos yung online class namin. Yan yung mahirap na part,“ Cabrera commented.

Hillary Reginio from Davao expects the hospitality of her employer.

“Ang expectation kos an aking new workplace here in Vienna is hopefully welcoming din naman ang aming employer. I also expect that we can improve our German, especially since we are here already in Austria, and we would be able to stay longer here and enjoy our time, “Hillary Regino said.

Ronnel Ann Alfonso from Rizal has a problem with the cold weather.

“Malamig, pero I think we can manage. We will do our best! I know we can do it! “Ronnel said.

Cherry Mae Bayaca from Makati expects an inevitable culture shock initially, though she is convinced that the group can easily overcome this.

Leslie Larga from Taguig is confident they will get full support from the Philippine Nurses Association in Austria.

Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Irene Susan B. Natividad graciously welcomed the Filipino Nurses, too.

Maligayang pagdating sa Asutria sa inyong lahat at welcome sa inyong embassy. Sana matagumpay ang inyong pagta-trabaho at pananatili dito sa Austria. Ang embassy naman ninyo ay palaging nandito kung meron kayong pangangailangan. Kilala naman tayo s pagiging magaling, sa pagta-trabaho so do and give your best. I hope you will enjoy your stay here i Austria and you will be the first of many nurses to come to Austria soon,“ Natividad said.

This pilot deployment is an outcome of the ongoing bilateral labor talks between the PH Government and the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria (WKO), represented by Mag. Maximilian Buchleitner and the Vienna Social Fund (FSW), represented by Mag. Monika Badilla.

  • Text/pictures: Mag. Hector Pascua, austrianpress.com
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