New Zealand’s New Policy Affects Second Coursers

The New Zealand Nursing Council now requires Filipino nurses particularly second coursers to study 2-3 more semesters in New Zealand before they can apply for registration.

The council reasoned that in taking nursing as a second course, the student’s course duration was shortened since he or she was exempted from certain subjects, which often meant finishing the course in two to three years, instead of four.

They also expressed worry that the rapid increase in the number of nursing students in the Philippines—about 450,000 in 2008 — might have an effect on the quality of the course.

An organization of Filipino migrant workers in New Zealand appealed Thursday to the Nursing Council to approve the registration of qualified Filipino nurses who have been working for at least one year before implementing the new policy requiring nurses to take on second courses.

According to Dennis Maga, Migrante-Aotearoa national coordinator, hundreds of Filipino Nurses will be forced to go home because they cannot afford to pay around NZ$20,0000 a year for the required additional semesters.

Mr. Maga recounted the experience of a Filipino nurse, a second-courser, who has been in New Zealand for almost three years and has a pending job offer in a hospital.

The council earlier issued other tougher requirements for overseas-trained nurses seeking employment in New Zealand. Under the new policy, effective January 1, 2009, all applicants including Filipinos must have a score of at least 7.0 in each band of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to qualify.

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