Singapore appeals to foreign nurses but lacks residency options & More Trending News


In this file photo taken on April 27, 2020, a healthcare worker dressed in personal protective equipment collects a nasal swab sample from a migrant worker for testing for the coronavirus at a foreign workers' dormitory in Singapore. (Photo: AFP)
In this file photograph taken on April 27, 2020, a healthcare employee wearing private protecting gear collects a nasal swab pattern from a migrant employee for testing for the coronavirus at a foreign employees’ dormitory in Singapore. (Photo: AFP)

Amid rising world demand for foreign nurses, Singapore has a aggressive edge owing to its proximity to supply international locations and comparatively painless software course of, in accordance to healthcare employees and specialists.

Singapore can be making an attempt to change nurses misplaced to different nations in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic – together with by dangling larger pay packets – but retention is a matter, with some saying they had been eyeing strikes overseas due to difficulties settling down right here.

According to the Singapore Nursing Board, foreign-trained nurses who want to work in Singapore should sit for a licensure examination and bear a competency evaluation.

This is in contrast to different international locations such because the United States or Britain, the place foreigners in search of employment may want to take additional steps similar to an English language check.

The price of every check sometimes ranges between US$180 to $325, relying on the place they sit for it, which can deter some from making use of to such international locations.

“Nurses have many more options today than they had previously because the pandemic has compelled everyone to basically prioritise nurses,” stated Assoc Prof Jeremy Lim from the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

He stated being shut to their household whereas working abroad was one other vital consideration for foreign nurses.

“Many of the nurses come from the Philippines or from regional countries, and people leave their home countries to earn money, but they still want to be reasonably close to home,” Lim added.

“So Singapore, frankly, benefits from our proximity to the Philippines, to India, to Myanmar, as opposed to the US to the European countries and we have an intrinsic edge when it comes to recruiting foreign nurses.”

A view of the town skyline in Singapore on Jan 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

Earlier in November, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung introduced that Singapore would add shut to 4,000 new nurses to its workforce by the top of 2023.

This would make up about 10% of the present nursing workforce and is 700 greater than the overall variety of nurses onboarded final yr.

Singapore to add extra hospital beds amid overcapacity woes, seemingly Covid surge

Of these 4,000 nurses, the next proportion might be foreign – with a ratio of about 60:40 native – to make up for the slowdown in foreign nurse recruitment due to Covid-19 border restrictions over the previous two years.

Singapore recorded a rise in attrition charges amongst native and foreign nurses within the public sector in 2021, in contrast with 2020.

Among locals, the attrition was 7.4% in 2021, up from 5.4% the earlier yr. For foreign nurses, attrition greater than doubled year-on-year to 14.8% in 2021.

In July, the Health Ministry introduced that greater than 25,000 nurses would obtain a particular fee of between 1.7 and a pair of.1 months of their base wage.

The base salaries of public healthcare nurses had been additionally elevated between 5 and 14% following a evaluate final yr.

Despite these efforts to woo and retain foreign nurses, some working right here cited the challenges of constructing Singapore their everlasting dwelling as a consider prompting them to look elsewhere.

“I have colleagues who have left or who are planning to leave because it’s very hard for them to settle down,” stated Mei (not her actual identify), a 32-year-old Myanmar nationwide who works as a nurse in a public hospital in Singapore.

“Whereas in other countries, there is that hope that in two years, you can bring your family over and can purchase a house and start a life there.”

Healthcare employees interviewed for this story can’t be recognized as they aren’t authorised to converse to the media.

Mei, who’s married to a Singaporean and has been working within the nation for greater than a decade, informed CNA that her software for everlasting residency has been rejected eight occasions. She is presently within the strategy of interesting the newest rejection.

“I have no plan to go yet because I’m married to a Singaporean, but these are the factors that are pushing a lot of foreign nurses to go overseas.”

It is the same scenario for Indian nationwide Paul (not his actual identify), a nurse in a public hospital in Singapore for 4 years.

The 29-year-old determined to relocate to Singapore after working for 3 years in India as a nurse.

“I chose to come to Singapore because it is nearer to India compared to other countries,” he stated. “My dad and mom are previous and have plenty of medical issues so if I had gone to a European nation, which is sort of a distance away from India, it might take too lengthy.

“I also heard from my friends who are working in Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman, that it is difficult to get permission to go home even if there’s an emergency. But it’s better in Singapore, because they still allow you to go home if something happened to the family, they are more understanding,” Paul added.

“So far, I have no plans to leave Singapore because I think it’s a good place to work and the money is better than what I would get at home.”

Paul needs to quiet down along with his accomplice, but stated he was involved about his possibilities of acquiring everlasting residency, having already failed a few occasions making use of.

Assoc Prof Lim stated Singapore was taking pictures itself within the foot over this situation of long-term residency.

“If one is married and one’s partner comes to Singapore but cannot work, that is challenging and now that under Singapore’s labour law – if one is on a dependent pass – it’s not straightforward to work anymore, it just creates more barriers,” he stated.

In the face of a continued world nursing scarcity and rising demand for care, Lim stated providing long-term residency to foreign nurses would assist enhance Singapore’s competitiveness and cut back attrition charges in the long run.

Otherwise, Singapore runs the chance of getting used as a mere stepping-stone to different international locations.

“In Southeast Asia, we’re definitely one of the best and in fact around the world, our public healthcare system is probably one of the better ones, so nurses who pass through us do get a sense of credibility,” stated Dr Lim Huai Yang, a public well being specialist with an curiosity in organisational well being.

“They see us as a place where they can get something on their resume, get good training for a few years and gain some experience before moving on to another country where the pay is probably better, and the work-life balance is better.”

Assoc Prof Lim stated that within the struggle to entice and retain nursing expertise, it was more and more not nearly amount but high quality as properly.

“We are in a global market and if we don’t want them, someone else will,” he warned.

“We have misplaced a lot of our most skilled foreign nurses and changing a nurse who has been in Singapore for 15 years isn’t simple.

“We can’t just get one nurse who recently arrived in Singapore and expect them to be like-for-like.”

Singapore appeals to foreign nurses but lacks residency options

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Singapore appeals to foreign nurses but lacks residency options

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