Austria welcomes Philippine nurses

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The shortage of skilled nursing staff in Austria is precarious. Local staff or workers from EU member states cannot cover this shortage in the medium and long term.

This emerging shortage of skilled nursing staff throughout Austria paved the way for Filipino nurses to work in healthcare institutions in Austria.

On October 4, 2023, the  PH Embassy in Vienna, led by Ambassador Evangeline Arroyo-Bernas, in cooperation with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Milan, welcomed another batch of Filipino healthcare professionals to Austria.

It was in October 2022 when nine Filipino nurses arrived in the country. All of them are now fully employed in nursing homes in Upper Austria.

A breakfast reception took place on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, 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 Ms. Petrona Bergado, Welfare Officer, MWO Milan,  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. Janelle Abanilla de Chavez, May Ann Vallongca, Jerlyn Reyes 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 its Philippine partner agency, the EDI Staffbuilders International, in cooperation with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. Under Mr. Matthias Hallerbach, the agency is certified 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.

“Austria is a beautiful country and offers many benefits. But then, nurses must learn the language; that is the requirement. They have to learn German up to level B 1 and intermediate level to communicate easily with native speakers. It is not yet a professional level. They will have time to develop their language skills in Austria. After this, they will apply for a red-white-red card. This is the permit that allows them to live and work in Austria. They also have to use also for the OEC – Overseas Employment Certificate. Once this is done, they can book the flight to Austria and become registered nurses here.  “Matthias Hallerbach of the C and C Human  Resource Development said.

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

May Ann Vallangca learned the German language for eight months. She is delighted to be finally here in Austria.

“ Unang-una po ay nag-aral kami ng German language for 8 to 9 months here. After that nagtake kami ng exam. Naipasa naming ang B1 German language. Nandito kami at wala po kaming nagastos na kahit ano. Sagot po naman lahat ng CNC ang agency at ang employer naming,” Mary Ann said.

They are grateful that they were given the chance to work in Austria.

“Super happy naman po kami at I am very proud po na nakapunta dito sa Austria at nabigyan po ng magandang opportunity,” commented  Janelie Abanilla de Chavez, one of the newly arrived Pina ynurse in Austria.

Jerlinne Reyes said: “Actually po when we arrived here in Austria, we were delighted and excited. At the same time, medyo kinakabahan, especially, it is my first time working abroad at bata pa ako, medyo kinakabahan, so far, my experience, here napaka welcoming ang Austria, very thankful for them.”

Ambassador Evangeline Arroyo-Bernas assured the Pinay workers to assist them whenever they need help from the Embassy.

Ang maganda sa tamang  pagrehistro  meron kaming contact ng mga nurses na darating na bago,  at meron din silang contact sa amin at kung meron man ang magkaproblema, nandito kami para matulungan para maayos   kung ano man yon. Ang maganda rin ay yung migrant office workers sa Milan. Nakatutuk din sila  doon sa ating mga nurses, hindi lamang sa Austria, at mga jurisdiction natin dito, kasama and Croatia; Slovenia, Slovakia at ang MWO Milan ay mas malawak pa sa ang  Central and Eastern Europe ang coverage nila pero maganda naman ang ugnayan namin. So talagang kung may emergency tumutulong sila kaagad at ianaayos naming together,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Cesar Averia, CEO of EDI Staffbuilders International, contends that the recruitment system for Filipino nurses is now ongoing.

“We hope we can perfect the system because the integration in Austria is also significant. You must have the right partner, CNC, and the institutions here in Austria so that we can bring hundreds and hundreds of nurses in Austria, eventually over the years,” the CEO said.

The Philippine Embassy and the recruitment agency believe that the Memorandum of Understanding between Austria and the Philippines on sending technical and skilled workers to Austria will be implemented soon.

“Yun yong isa ring darating na agreement na MOU sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at Austria yung general skilled mobility. So hopefully mapirmahan yun bago magtapos ang taon, yung ang inaatupag naming ngayon. Yung ang magbubukas sa mga Filipino sa pagdating kahit anong skills. Ang importante dito ay yung mga nagtapos sa Tesda yung sa pagiging kahit anong skilled labors- meron silang listahan sa mga kinakailangan at bukas na bukas sila sa mga Pilipino,” Arroyo Bernas said.

The CEO of EDI Staffbuilders International, Mr. Cesar Averia, is convinced that through the help of the Philippine Embassy and the help of the Chamber of Commerce, the company will be able to bring more Filipinos here, not only in the healthcare sector.

“So the Filipino technical workers itong mga electricians, welders, which are very much needed in Austria, will also have the opportunity to come here, but now, the system is not yet in place, but we will do it eventually, Mr. Cesar Averia said.

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