UAE: Hundreds of Indian nurses risk losing jobs

UAE: Hundreds of Indian nurses risk losing jobs

Dubai: Jobs of hundreds of Indian nurses with diploma certificates are at stake due to a new educational requirement in the UAE, Gulf News has learnt.

More than 200 nurses have lost their jobs from some hospitals in northern emirates while several others have been demoted after the UAE made a bachelor’s degree in nursing as the minimum educational qualification for registered nurses, affected nurses said.

Nurses with diploma certificates, who continue to be retained, are required to do a Post Basic BSc Nursing Programme from universities in the UAE accredited by the Ministry of Education by 2020, they said.

However, several nurses, who have enrolled for the programmes in different universities, are now facing another crisis—their requests for equivalency certificate for their diploma certificates are getting rejected.

Equivalency issue
The UAE’s Ministry of Education (MoE) here is issuing equivalency certificate for diploma certificates obtained from the state of Kerala, the nursing council of which is the only Indian nursing body recognised by the ministry, the affected nurses explained. Kerala sends the highest number of nurses to the country.

Nurses, who have obtained their diploma certificates from other Indian states, are now in a limbo even though they have been able to prove the genuineness of their qualifications by getting the necessary attestations done through the Indian Consulate in Dubai, they said.

“Majority of us are hailing from Kerala itself. But we studied outside Kerala for our nursing diploma courses. A few nurses from other Indian states are also facing the same issue,” said one of the affected nurses.

The nurses said the MoE is not recognising certificates issued from boards of examinations from other states despite all the states’ nursing councils following the same curriculum governed by the Indian Nursing Council.

They said this has made lives miserable for those who joined the Post Basic BSc Nursing course with the hope of continuing to work in the UAE.

Since the MoE is not issuing an equivalency certificate for them, some universities are not allowing them to continue their education, they said.

“Many of us have already lost our jobs and now we are unable to continue our studies and apply for another job, leaving us in a “do or die’’ situation,” said one nurse.

Urgent intervention
The nurses said they are demanding the urgent intervention of the authorities to include the Indian Nursing Council in the approved list of the Ministry of Education, UAE, and recognise the certificates issued by boards of examinations from other states also.

“Most of us have more than 10 years’ experience in the UAE and sponsor our families. Many have been holding senior positions. We have high hopes that both Indian and the UAE authorities will take urgent measures to solve this crisis,” said one nurse.

Nurses said they are paying Dh55,000 to Dh75,000 for the courses at different universities. They said some nurses are not able to continue the classes without submitting the equivalency certificates.

The nurses said they would approach India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, who is scheduled to visit the UAE this week, seeking his urgent intervention to solve the issue.

Ramesh Mannath, president of the Indian People’s Forum in Dubai, said the nurses would be facilitated to meet the minister.

When contacted, Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul, said: “We have already taken it up with the nursing councils in India and the local authorities here and we hope that a solution will be found soon.”

What is the crisis all about?
The UAE has made bachelor’s degree in nursing as the minimum educational qualification for registered nurses. Many who have done diploma in nursing have lost their jobs and some have been demoted.

Nurses with diploma certificates, who have been retained, are required to do a Post Basic BSc Nursing Programme from universities in the UAE accredited by the Ministry of Education by 2020.

However, the Ministry of Education is only issuing equivalency certificate for diploma certificates issued by the nursing council in the state of Kerala, which sends the highest number of nurses to the country.

Nurses, who have done diploma courses from other Indian states are urging the UAE ministry to recognise the Indian Nursing Council which governs all the state nursing councils so that their diploma certificates can also be recognised with equivalency certificates from here.