January 14, 2022
MANILA — There are at least 100,000 Filipino healthcare workers who have pending visas to work in the United States amid a “very high demand” for nurses and doctors in the said country, which is currently facing a high COVID-19 infection rate, Manila’s envoy there said.
“There are quite a number of pending visas for nurses from the Philippines that I think are being considered now very seriously that they’d like to bring them over. These are nurses that have already been approved [of] moving to the United States as health workers,” Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Romualdez said in an ANC interview on Thursday.
“I would think that [there is] probably at least 100,000 visas…that are pending right now to come to the United States,” he added.
Asked if there is a preference for Filipino health workers in the United States, Romualdez said: “Definitely, there’s no doubt about that.”
“In all my discussions with the U.S. government people, we inevitably always talk about the nurses, most especially, the kind of people that we have here working in the hospitals. There’s so much appreciation, the demand is very high for Filipinos nurses and doctors actually,” he added.
At present, there are around 150,000 to 200,000 Filipino healthcare workers in the U.S., Romualdez noted.
US infection rate
According to Romualdez, the infection rate in the U.S. is “quite high.”
“They only have about a 62 percent rate of those who are vaccinated, that’s why their hospitals are a bit overwhelmed,” he added.
In terms of the vaccination status among Filipinos in the U.S., Romualdez said “most” have already been inoculated and have received their booster shot.
“Most Filipinos follow the rules very closely, most Filipinos we know, at least from the reports we get from our consulates from Guam all the way to New York, most are vaccinated and they’ve all had their booster shots. So, we’re happy with that,” he said.
According to a Reuters tally, the U.S. reported 1.35 million new COVID-19 cases last Jan. 10, which is the highest daily total for any country in the world.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health on Wednesday logged 32,246 more COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s active tally to 208,164.