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Pinoy Abroad

RP eyes Finland as new destination for nurses

September 18, 2007 5:28pm

The Philippines is looking at Finland as a new destination for Filipino nurses, caregivers and other healthcare workers.

“Finland’s rapidly ageing population presents labor opportunities for Filipino nurses and healthcare workers," said Zeneida Angara Collinson, the Philippine ambassador to the Northern European state.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Collinson said she has asked the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce to hold promotional and business matching activities on the Philippines’ health and wellness industry.

A Finnish healthcare and social care manpower company plans to hire an initial batch of 100 nurses from the Philippines next year and in 2009, the ambassador said.

A pilot group of 20 nurses will travel to Finland in 2008 to undergo Finnish training and language studies in preparation for their employment that will entitle them to benefits and other privileges enjoyed by their Finnish counterparts.

As of 2003, Filipinos in Finland were estimated at 580, of which 87% or 505 are Filipino citizens while 75 have acquired Finnish citizenship.

All the Nordic countries, including Finland, accept Filipino workers, mainly in the shipping industry.

Apart from labor, Collinson said there is also much room for improvement in the area of trade relations between the Philippines and Finland.

The areas of cooperation between the two countries are expected to get a boost when Finnish President Tarja Halonen visits Manila in 2009. It would be the first visit of a Finnish head of state to the Philippines.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited Helsinki in September 2006 for the Asia-Europe Meeting. It was during that visit when President Arroyo witnessed the signing of the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), which provides, among others, for a recruitment quota of Filipino nurses to Japan.

Meantime, Collinson said Philippine relations with Finland have always have been friendly and cordial, nurtured by a shared commitment to the ideas of democracy and human dignity.

She noted however that trade balance has consistently been in favor of Finland in the past five years.

Telecommunications company Nokia is the world’s largest buyer of electronic components whereas the Philippines supplies 12% of global demand for semi-conductor.

Finland has not been aggressive in expanding business operations in the Philippines compared with other EU member-countries. Finnish investments were concentrated in the public sector. - GMANews.TV