Germany Opening To Filipino Nurses

Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad met with officials of the Federal Employment Agency, International Placement Services (ZAV) in Bonn to discuss the deployment of Filipino nurses to Germany and the upcoming visit of German Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen, to the Philippines.

Minister von der Leyen will witness the signing of an agreement between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and ZAV to formalize the arrangement for the deployment.

In Bonn, Ambassador Natividad was received by Ms. Monika Varnhagen, Director of the ZAV, and Ms. Annette Tigges-Thies, Head of Division for Labour Migration and Work Permits also at the ZAV.

Ms. Varnhagen briefed Ambassador Natividad on Germany's plans to ensure the success of the effort. Through partner agencies like the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and CIM (Centrum fur internationale Migration und Entwicklung), the ZAV will ensure that Filipino nurses will have adequate linguistic and professional preparation, free of charge, prior to entry to Germany.

Under the "triple win formula," the agencies will be responsible for the successful integration of the nurses into the German labor market and in their social environment.

Minister von der Leyen will go to Manila for the purpose of witnessing the signing of the agreement and meeting key Philippine officials. Minister von der Leyen supervises the ZAV. Since 2009, she has served as the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet.

Prior to that, she also served as Federal Minister of Family Affairs of Chancellor Merkel. The visit of the high-ranking official marks the commitment of the German side to ensure the successful implementation of the agreement.

The deployment of Filipino nurses is expected to address the current shortages experienced by German hospitals.

Ambassador Natividad also informed the ZAV officials of the readiness of the Philippines to sign the agreement, particularly the POEA which will be responsible for the implementation.

"It is all systems go for the Triple Win Project. When the agreement is signed, then we have a cooperation framework that enables Filipino nurses to work in Germany," said Ambassador Natividad.

She further emphasized that the agreement protects Filipino workers rights, "Under the agreement, Filipino workers may not be employed under working conditions less favourable than those comparable for German workers."

The deployment of nurses is part of enhanced labour cooperation discussed by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle during the latter's official visit to Manila in February this year.

The two ministers called for cooperation across the board between the Philippines and Germany as the two countries celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.

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