MODE 4 – A SLAVE TRADE IN FOREIGN NURSES

slavery-1-537x402The ‘General Agreement on Trade in Services’ (GATS) was formulated in 1995. It came about to help corporations to make profits from the huge growth in the services economy, which accounts for 60% of global output, 30% of employment, and nearly 20% of global trade.

This is very profitable for the agencies involved. Buying and selling’ of service sector workers can be likened to the slave trade of old, in which the cheapest source of labour (African slaves) were shipped to countries that exploited them in the name of profit.

The modern Filipino slave does receive a wage, is not whipped, flogged, hanged, or castrated, and is generally better off than they would be in the Philippines. They receive the bare minimum paid to their UK equivalent, and are expected to work long hours without complaining, and without joining a union.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) means that under Mode 4 member countries adopt policies on the temporary inward mobility of service sector workers.

This means that they allow quasi-permanent migration of low wage service sector workers, such as nurses and care assistants.

The UK is a member of GATS, and there has been an increase in the number of work permits granted for foreign workers since 2012.

This has increased the cost to the UK in terms of providing education and welfare for migrant workers and their families.

Foreign workers entering the UK under Mode 4 are not counted in immigration statistics.

There is no definition of temporary. Contracts can be renewed.

Existing migrants lose in terms of real incomes as real wages fall slightly with the increased labour supply (Walmsley, Winters, Parsons and Ahmed 2005).

Newly qualified UK nurses are not given (incremental-salary) jobs.

Allowing for drop-out rates, circa 30,000 newly qualified UK nurses will enter the job market in the years 2013-2015.

As in America (According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, US nursing schools produced close to a million nurses from 2006 to 2011), and Australia, there is no shortages of nurses. This is a myth spread by the government, who is obliged to take a quota of Mode 4 nurses under GATS.

Groups with vested interests such as the RCN (who represent the nurse lecturing industry) propagate the myth of nurse shortage.

In September 2013, the British Embassy in Manila called for the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU). There followed a series of Southeast Asian trade forums “that seek to help small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from trading arrangements,” which was held at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). During the forum, British Embassy in Manila charge d’affaires Trevor Lewis noted how the project can help small and medium enterprises [SMEs] “raise the utilization of existing concessions with its FTA partners to boost the country’s gains from global trade.”

Such companies as UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) assist UK-based companies to establish themselves in the Philippines through ‘expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world’.

The Philippine British Business Council (PBBC) ‘offers UK companies (exporters or potential investors) the chance to gain exposure in the market, research further opportunities and of course enjoy key introductions to senior business contacts utilising our wide range of business and government networks. The programme will include several networking events, briefings at key Government departments and business introductions. There is also the opportunity to add additional meetings utilising the PBBC’s contacts and services offered by the British Chamber of Commerce for the Philippines (BCCP)’.

A British company might wish to establish a nursing agency in the Philippines, and consult such as ‘Nursing Agency Consulting Service, A division of NursePartners’ who offer ‘Tips for American and foreign nursing agencies thinking of sponsoring Philippine nurses’.

Transact nurse recruiting process only who are registered and license by POEA. (The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency the registers and regulates recruitment agencies for Overseas Filipino Workers).

Use the official registered address for the Philippine recruitment agency to conduct business.

A British company might become an affiliate under the NursePartners Affiliate Program:

Your company must hold the necessary requirements to be a healthcare recruiting firm such as insurances and business licenses. Our guide will teach you “how.”

Your company is completely independent from NursePartners. This affiliate program is not mandatory.

NursePartners will assist your company in placing your candidates for a split fee commission. (40/60)

Your company is not obligated to share candidates with NursePartners.

For example: Let’s say you have a pharmacist candidate and the pharmacist wanted to move to a different state or just to a different healthcare company. If your company are unable to place your candidate and NursePartners successfully place your candidate for $90,000.00 per year and If NursePartners negotiated 20% commission with a healthcare facility, then the commission total is $18,000.00. Your company receives $10,800.00 in commission and NursePartners receives $7200.00.

The British company (using a registered address in the Philippines) need not overly concern itself about checks on the validity of certificates on those it recruits. As an example, the NMC deploy 8 out of its 660 staff to check nursing certificates for a PRC stamp – ‘Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, who led the (Chua) investigation, … said, “I have no confidence in the qualifications he has provided via the Professional Regulation Commission” (which verifies the qualifications of nurses) … a source close to the Stepping Hill case said: “Vetting of nurses in the Philippines is very, very poor. A lot is done on the word of the Philippines regulatory authorities. They rely on stamped documents as proof of proper qualifications. This is why police can’t be certain that Chua’s qualifications are genuine.” Another said: “We can’t be certain that the Philippines’ Professional Regulation Commission has exercised due diligence with regard to the NHS. Once you have a PRC stamp, you are more or less guaranteed a job in the UK’.

A trade based on lies and deception.

Slave ship recruiters sail under a Philippines flag of convenience.

The NMC may as well employ the office cleaner to check certificates.

The quota of foreign nurses has already been agreed. It’s a workers for trade pact.

UK nursing students are innocent pawns in a game of vested interest.

The UK government might as well stop paying (£70,000 per student) for the training of nurses, and admit it is cheaper for hosital-trusts-as-business to import foreign ones.

A report in business-anti-corruption.com (April 2014) points to serious concerns about officials in the Philippines being open to bribery: ‘Anti-corruption has been a high political priority under President Aquino’s administration … However, the effects of President Aquino’s anti-corruption works are still minor … The New York Times reports in August 2013 that the Aquino government is now facing great pressure from citizens for failing on its promise of fighting rampant corruption … Corruption is said to take place at all levels of the government, but it is more rampant among high-level civil servants. For businesses, it is important to note that the country’s complex, sometimes contradictory regulatory regime leaves room for corrupt civil servants to attempt to extract bribes … There is a lack of transparency in the Philippines’ public procurement, and bribes are often demanded from companies wishing to win government contracts, as shown by the Survey of Enterprises on Corruption 2014. Another sector in which companies are particularly vulnerable is obtaining licenses and permits; the Survey of Enterprises on Corruption 2014 shows that the most common type of private sector corruption was bribing local government officials in return for licenses and permits in 2012 and 2013 … It is also important for companies to keep in mind that gifts and favours are forbidden in the code of conduct and are defined as bribes by the Revised Penal Code (Art. 210). The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act forbids officials from receiving gifts (sect. 3). However, Global Integrity 2010 states that the regulations governing gifts and hospitality offered to civil servants are poorly enforced in practice‘.

There should be a government enquiry into all aspects of the recruitment of foreign nurses (and doctors, etc.) to the UK.

There will be no such enquiry.

The media will be warned off.

The wider context of the use of Mode 4 exploitation is explained by Daniel Morley (22 April 2014, marxist.com):

‘The epoch of world growth fueled by globalisation is over. Two giant free trade deals are being thrashed out which would place the United States at the centre of its own strategically drawn up domain, stretching from both sides of the pacific to Eastern Europe. But far from being a means to open up the world to a further intensification of trade and to liberate capitalism from its own fetters, these deals engineered by US imperialism in its own interests would carve up the world into two or more power blocs waging economic war with one another. It is protectionism masquerading as free trade.

Free trade and protectionism are not mutually exclusive opposites, but are two sides of the same capitalist coin, indispensable policies in its war for profit. The US likes to preach against the Chinese state’s protection of its own capitalism, just as Britain did to Europe 150 years ago, but in their day both America and Britain applied state protection to build up their own capitalism to the point where it could dominate others without help. Protectionism was and is used to create an internal free market, i.e. one free from ‘unfair’ international competition, and likewise free-trade is today imposed onto weaker countries to ‘protect’ American and European firms from ‘unfair’ Chinese competition. The two policies condition and turn into one another’.
lenin nightingale 2015

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