By Eden Eve Lacea

PHOTO: Philippine Star

The Brunei government has appealed for a second removal of the Philippines’ deployment cap due to healthcare worker (HCW) demand increase brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on August 29.

According to Labor Attaché Melissa Mendizabal of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Brunei is hiring around 200 nurses and 30 doctors to support the healthcare system.

She added that nurses are given free accommodation and can earn up to 2,000 Brunei Dollars per month.

“The salary is comparable to the salary of nurses in Singapore. Nurses receive high take-home pay because of the free accommodation and transportation. If they render overtime work, they earn as much as 2,000 Brunei Dollars per month,” Mendizabal quoted.

The Brunei government requested for another exemption regarding the HCW cap in July 2021 after their petition was denied last 2020.

Furthermore, the Philippine government also increased the deployment cap for healthcare workers from 5,000 to 6,500.

Although Brunei is encouraging localization, Mendizabal highlighted that the demand for Filipinos in managerial positions is high.

“The Brunei government is trying to implement localization, meaning they want to employ the locals here. For example, the shop assistants. But when it comes to supervisory and managerial roles, they give these positions to our Filipino workers,” the Labor Attaché noted.

Currently, about 20,000 OFWs are there in Brunei.

Mendizabal emphasized that Filipino workers have no chance of acquiring permanent residency, and will only receive a work pass as well as a visa every two years.

“OFWs are work pass holders only, and they are issued visas after every two years,” she clarified. 

Report sources: GMA News, DOLE PH