The government has increased the quota of overseas-deployable health workers in occupations deemed critical to 6,500. the Palace announced Friday.

In a statement, the President’s spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said the interagency task force on the pandemic approved the new quota Thursday for health workers with “mission-critical skills.” The previous quota had been 5,000.

Mr. Roque said health workers with perfected contracts as of May 31 will be eligible to deploy subject to the quota.

“Healthcare workers under government-to-government labor agreements shall, however, be exempted from this adjusted ceiling,” he said.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in December issued an advisory lifting the suspension on the deployment of nurses, nursing aides and nursing assistants starting Jan. 1, after deployments were frozen at the hight of the pandemic.

On June 1, the POEA announced the suspension of processing documents of new-hire health workers after the 5,000 quota was filled.

The original suspension on deployments had been imposed in April 2020 by the POEA Board, via a resolution imposing a moratorium on the deployment of mission-critical health workers. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas