Last week, EIT welcomed their first offshore international students since March 2020. The cohort of 16 Filipino students was allowed to enter New Zealand after being granted a “critical purpose” exception. The students who are qualified nurses in the Philippines are now completing their seven-week Registered Nurse Competence Training Scheme (also known as CAP) for Overseas Registered Nurses. Once graduated, and registered in New Zealand, these nurses will play a significant role in supporting the New Zealand health system.
Among the newcomers are Gines Cabahug and Marnie Castrence. Both are thrilled to start their training. Gines has been working in the Philippines as an emergency department nurse for fours year, before taking up a role in the medical surgical-paediatric ward. In New Zealand, he was reunited with his long-term partner, who came to Hawke’s Bay as a CAP nurse two years ago and is now working at the Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
Marnie, an emergency department nurse like Gines, has worked in Saudi Arabia for many years before her application for coming to New Zealand was granted.
Their first impression of their new home didn’t disappoint. “We arrived in late December and had a MIQ place in Christchurch. Every day we received a wellness newsletter with all sorts of updates and different 30-minute workouts. Everything was perfectly managed.” They also stress how welcome and supported they feel, and that New Zealand is a beautiful, safe, and highly organised country.
Philippa Jones, Executive Director of EIT’s International Centre, says that it was a great start for the return of international students to New Zealand. “We are looking forward to welcoming the next cohort of CAP nurses in March 2021.”
EIT also welcomed the government’s announcement of the border exception for 1000 returning bachelor and above students. “We are now engaged in the process to identify and nominate eligible students who we hope will be able to study with us this year,” says Philippa. On 14 January 2021, the government had announced that the border exception “delivers on a part of the recovery plan for international education”. The government also reiterated its commitment to working with the international education sector.
Meanwhile, Gines and Marnie are savouring their experience in New Zealand. Their goal is to complete the programme and then start their nursing career in New Zealand.