The government of Brunei is eyeing to hire at least 200 nurses and 30 medical doctors from the Philippines.
“There are two hospitals here, one government hospital and one private hospital. The salary is comparable to the salary of nurses in Singapore. Nurses receive high take-home pay because of the free accommodation and transportation. If they render overtime work, they earn as much as 2,000 Brunei dollars per month,” said Labor Attache Melissa Mendizabal of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Brunei Darussalam.
The labor attache said there is a high turnover of nurses in the Brunei.
However, due to the overseas deployment cap on Filipino healthcare workers, she said the Brunei government requested for exemption initially in 2020 but this did not materialize. Another request was sent to the Philippine government at around July this year.
Aside from opportunities in the healthcare sector, around a thousand jobs also await Filipino workers in the oil and gas and household service sectors in Brunei.
“Prior to our current situation, we have processed job orders for domestic workers. On top of that are the nurses then those in the oil and gas industry. Most of the job orders that we have processed are in those sectors,” said Mendizabal.
Workers in the oil and gas sector, which comprise around 10 percent of the Filipino population in Brunei, receive higher salaries. Some receive wages ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 Brunei dollars. Among these workers are engineers and architects.
“Those workers do not stay here. They go here for one month, three months, then they go back to the Philippines. It only changed when the pandemic started. Many Filipinos were not able to go back to the Philippines and stayed here in Brunei,” said the labor official.
She added that there is also demand for semi-skilled workers, such as car technicians of high-end vehicles.
At present, there are around 20,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Brunei.
Mendizabal noted, however, that there is no chance for permanent residency in Brunei. OFWs are work pass holders only, and they are issued visas after every two years.