Dubai: Prominent health-care groups in the UAE have come forward to offer jobs to nurses from Kerala who have been stranded here after falling prey to COVID-19 job scams.
As reported by Gulf News on Wednesday, several nurses from the south Indian state were stranded after being duped by recruitment agencies who charged exorbitant commissions ranging from Rs200,000 (Dh10,055) to Rs350,000. They were offered jobs at COVID-19 vaccination and testing centres in the UAE.
Some of the leading health-care groups have now offered jobs to the affected nurses.
Speaking to Gulf News, bosses and top executives of these groups have confirmed that they are also willing to hire nurses, who have not secured a local medical licence, and they would be helped to get a licence in the coming months if they have the required qualification and experience.
Aster DM Healthcare
Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, said: “We are ready to hire whoever is qualified and have sufficient experience with or without licence. They should be able to perform well in the interview. If they don’t have a licence, we can start processing their visas and provide them support to try for licence.”
He said the group is also open to hire nurses who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the licence as health-care assistants who can support licensed nurses.
He said the group has a requirement of 300 nurses on account of two hospitals coming up in Dubai and Sharjah. Nurses wishing to apply for jobs at Aster can email their CVs at email@example.com before May 25, with the subject line ‘Gulf News Report’. They can also attend the walk-in interview at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais, from 10am to 4pm on May 28.
Dr Sanjay M. Paithankar, managing director of Right Health, said his group was also willing to hire up to 40 nurses. “We have just opened five more facilities in Dubai. They can join immediately. There are flats ready to accommodate them. We will arrange visa, accommodation, transportation plus basic salary till they get the DHA license. Our company will also help them appear for tests to get DHA licence.”
Nurses, who are not qualified to apply for DHA licence, have also been offered jobs as assistants.
Those interested in applying to Right Health can email their CVs at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Michael Brenden Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare, said the group would like to invite nurses who have been affected by the situation to apply directly to its nursing talent acquisition team for review and consideration.
“We are unable to guarantee job placements without proper diligence. However, our team is anxious to review CVs of those affected, to assess if we would be in a position to help,” he said.
Nurses can send their CVs at firstname.lastname@example.org and quote — REC/CORP/NUR/STJSN2/2021 in the subject line.
A spokesperson of Larsen & Toubro Limited said the company was also wiling to recruit one nurse with licence from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Nurses must report agents
Speaking to Gulf News on Wednesday, Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai, said stranded nurses must report the matter to the mission so that they can be assisted with repatriation.
“We have been in touch with the associations and community groups. So far, nobody has approached us seeking help for repatriating stranded nurses. The consulate is willing to assist whoever needs help. If anyone complains about any recruitment agency, we will forward it to the state government for taking action,” he said.
Two affected nurses who had complained to Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, said the state police had begun investigation back home.
Nurses overwhelmed by support
“We were also contacted by the consulate. We hope there will be action taken against the agents who have still kept many of our fellow nurses under their custody,” said Reena Rajan. Her friend Susan Saji, also a nurse, said: “They [the nurses] are upset with us after we moved out of their accommodation and complained against the agents. But, we are trying to help them also.”
The women, who are now sheltered by Rajan’s brother, said they were overwhelmed to see the response from the health-care groups here. They thanked the health-care groups for their generous gesture of offering jobs to even those who did not have a licence. “Now, we are confused where to join. We have to see which company is offering the best package,” said Rajan.
Kiran Raveendran, a community volunteer, who has been helping duped nurses get jobs, said it was heartening to see the support pouring in from private health-care groups.
“My only concern is how those nurses, who are still under the custody of the agents, would apply for these posts if the agents refuse to release their documents. I hope the nurses would gather the courage to report them and come out to apply for the jobs so that they can get out of this difficult situation and ensure a bright future for themselves,” he said.
Huge vacancies in UAE
Apart from the new hospital openings, Dr Moopen cited multiple reasons for the huge number of vacancies for nurses in the UAE. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, many health-care workers who went to India did not come back. “They are stuck there [due to flight suspension] or due to various other reasons they have stayed back. Secondly, usually, these recruitments happen either in the Philippines or India. Currently, there is a challenge to get people from these places [due to the travel restrictions].”
He also revealed that there has been a shift of nurses from private sector to the government sector during the COVID-19 vaccination drive due to the higher packages offered by government facilities.
Dr Paithankar said he had got to know about the large number of nurses being brought into the UAE by recruitment agencies since February. “We had interviewed and offered jobs to around 100 of them. Unfortunately, the recruitment agents demanded 50 per cent of their salaries, which we refused. We said full salaries would go to the nurses. After that, they did not contact us. Probably, they were threatened by the agents.”