12,399 Filipino nurses took U.S. licensure exam from Jan-Sept

File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A total of 12,399 nursing graduates from the Philippines took the U.S. licensure examination for the first time from January to September this year, in hopes of practicing their profession in America, Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo said on Sunday.

“The nine-month figures already surpassed the 9,788 Filipino nursing graduates that took the U.S. admissibility exam for the first time, without counting repeaters, in the whole 12 months of 2021,” Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on higher and technical education, said.

“Superb pay is the biggest factor driving Filipino nurses to migrate to America. Our nurses also want to live and work in America because there is no language barrier, and they identify with the Western culture,” Rillo said.

The average median pay of nurses in America was $77,600 per annum in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is equal to around P4.4 million at the prevailing $1 to P57.45 exchange rate.

To dissuade Filipino nurses from seeking better opportunities in America and other foreign labor markets, Rillo has been batting for the passage of new legislation that would increase by 75 percent their starting salary here at home.

Rillo is proponent of House Bill No. 5276, which seeks to revise upward from P36,619 to P63,997 the minimum base monthly pay of nurses employed by the Philippine government.

Under Rillo’s bill, the lowest base pay of nurses working in public health institutions would be raised by six notches to Salary Grade 21 prescribed under the Salary Standardization Law of 2019.

Based on data from the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc., Rillo said 2,751 nurses educated in India also took America’s eligibility exam for the first time from January to September, along with 1,143 nurses schooled in South Korea.

Rillo said 914 nurses educated in Puerto Rico and 831 nurses schooled in Nigeria likewise took the NCLEX for the first time in the nine-month period.

The NCLEX, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse, is administered via computerized adaptive testing in domestic and international locations.

Foreign-educated nurses pay a $200 (P11,490) registration fee, among other requirements, before they can book an appointment to take the NCLEX.