FILIPINO health care professionals will soon find employment opportunities in Switzerland, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said in a statement late Friday.

This came after three Swiss officials -- Eduard Gnesa, special ambassador for International Cooperation; Roland Flukiger of the Federal Office for Migration, Emigration and Trainees Section; and Jean-Daniel Bieler of the Federal Office for Public Health, Internal Affairs Division -- received briefings on the country’s nursing and migration program.

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“The visit is expected to open up new opportunities for Filipino workers in Switzerland,” the department said.

The Swiss officials were briefed by representatives from the Commission on Higher Education, Philippine College of Nursing, Philippine Nursing Association, Professional Regulation Commission and Department of Health.

The delegation was also briefed on the migration program and nursing profession by representatives of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said Gnesa and his group will visit a private recruitment agency and a leading private hospital to personally see the Philippines’ migration and hospital care systems.

Filipina passes Japanese nursing exam

In a related development, a Filipina passed the Japanese nursing licensure examinations, a report from Asahi Shimbun said.

Lalin Ever Gammed, 34, joined two Indonesians and several Japanese takers in an examination done in Japanese language.

The report added that Gammed trained at the Ashikaga Red Cross Hospital in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Two hundred fifty-four foreigners took the test this year with the performance seen as an improvement from last year, where none of the

82 examinees passed.

The exam is under an economic partnership agreement, which allowed foreign nurses and caregivers in 2008 to work in the rapidly-aging country due to domestic labor shortages in medical and nursing service fields.

The Senate ratified the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in October 2008 amid various criticisms.

Under the agreement, foreign nurses must return to their home countries if they fail to pass Japan's nurse qualifying exam within three years. Caregivers also need to hurdle Japan's qualifying exam within four years.

The agreement facilitated the entry of at least 400 Filipino nurses and 600 caregivers in May last year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)