Filipino nurses’ guide to practice in New Zealand 2017

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CRISPIN R. ARANDA

FROM just over 10,000 in 2001, the number of Filipinos in New Zealand increased to more than 40,347 in 2013 (the last census published), a significant number of whom were nurses and engineers. Approximately 2,000 more join their kababayan as international students each year.

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To practice their profession, PRC-licensed nurses (PRC-RNs) must meet the new requirements by the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ). The registration rules have changed, the latest being in April 2017.

PRC-RNs are initially considered as Enrolled Nurse. Subsequently, to be considered an internationally qualified nurse (IQNs) by NCNZ the PRC-RN must – at the minimum – meet the prescribed qualification (18-month Diploma of Enrolled Nursing, Level 5 on the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQA).

IQNs deemed to have the qualifications, experience, language proficiency fitness and competence to practice move on to become RNs after completing the required competence assessment program (CAP).

This 10-point guide provides the steps required for a Filipino/IQN RN to move up the professional ladder from Enrolled Nurse to Registered Nurse.

1. Evidence of identity. Passport, birth certificate, alternative documents if birth certificate is not available; evidence of change of name if applicable.

2. English language requirement. You need 7.0 minimum in each of the IELTS band (reading, listening, speaking and writing) or a score of B in the Occupational English Test (OET). The results must be less than three years old at time of submission.

3. Educational Equivalence. This is evaluated by the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) unless your degree or diploma was obtained from a recognized educational institution. In this case, your qualification is considered exempt from assessment.

4. Curriculum vitae. Must have detailed record of your post-registration nursing experience with inclusive dates of employment (name of employers, position(s) held; areas of practice and actual nursing duties. Also need to provide details of your education/qualifications and professional development (training, seminars, continuing education).

5. Current Registration. Your PRC license must be current. If not, be sure you have it renewed prior to starting your application.

6. Post-licensure/registration experience. IQNs must have at least two years of experience after obtaining the license to practice within the five years immediately preceding the application.

7. Fitness to practice. Not only should your license be current and valid. You must also not have been disciplined by any regulatory authority for your profession or restrictions imposed on your ability to practice. Fitness to practice also considers your mental or physical condition and finally if you have ever been charged or convicted or any criminal charge in the Philippines, NZ or other countries. All IQN applicants need to complete an International Criminal History Check (ICHC) when advised, from a council-approved vendor for each country they have lived in, or been primarily based in other than New Zealand for six consecutive months or longer. Applicants will be responsible for paying for their ICHC, a fee of A$149 per country.

8. Competence to practice which refers to the need to take the Competence Assessment Program (CAP). If, after evaluating the other documents and requirements, NCNZ determines that you need to take the CAP, then you would be issued a letter advising you of such need to pursue and complete the 6-to-8-week course (includes theoretical and clinical components. You shall be given 24 months from the date of notification to begin the CAP.

9. References: professional and character. Professional references must be original, executed and signed by a senior nurse, nursing supervisor, doctor or health professional who supervised your RN practice at current place of employment and would vouch for your character and integrity.

The character reference does not have to be in the healthcare field but must be executed by a person who has known you for at least two years (must not be a family member). This reference must include the referees full name and contact details, your full name and date of birth and the circumstances of how the person knows you, your character and integrity.

10. Start Application. NCNZ encourages IQNs to complete the Council’s online Application – Email registration@nursingcouncil.org.nz

After evaluating your application for registration, the Nursing Council of New Zealand will determine if you need to take the CAP. If yes, NCNZ will notify you of the need to take the CAP with a list of institutions authorized / approved to offer the course. For the complete, updated and official info as well as list of CAP providers – http://www.nursingcouncil.org.nz/Education/Competence-assessment-programmes.

The price range for the 6-to-8-week course is from $7,000 to $10,000. Be sure you have been offered and assured a place for the CAP before applying for the visa.

You need to provide written confirmation from the NCNZ that you’re eligible for the New Zealand registration process, and have completed your enrolment requirements. You would need to provide evidence of funds for the duration of your stay and to show that you have enough money to buy a ticket out of NZ.

Upon course completion and meeting the remaining requirements (at the time you apply) you could get your nursing license with NCNZ. The license is your ticket to get that job offer either to start working legally or pursue your permanent resident application through the Expression of Interest (EOI) route.

The above information represents the good news. The bad news is that entry-level or staff RNs are no longer in New Zealand’s long-term skills shortage list (LTSSL).

A PRC-licensed RN with at least two years of experience, between the age of 20 to 39, whose academic qualifications are considered the equivalent of an NZ counterpart must have her or his occupation in the LTSSL to get 10 points towards the minimum 100 to be qualified to enter the Expression of Interest pool of candidates.

If the occupation is not on the list but the RN has a job offer outside Auckland (and she or he meets the requirements of the job offer) then this PRC-licensed RN could get 170 points, 10 points over the minimum required to be invited to apply for permanent residency.

Want to check if you’re eligible? This is the official link- https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/tools-and-information/tools/points-indicator-smc-28aug

But be sure you meet the criteria in this 10-point outline, otherwise you will remain out of NZ.

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