I was a Nurse. I graduated 2003 — hope was bleak. No more Jobs.
To the newly graduates, it will even be a lot harder. But don’t lose hope — we only use nursing to get to the US, right?
How about a shortcut? Back in the day, when I fully discovered what I really wanted to do, I took a different route — the tourist route.
Somewhere along the line, my hubby and I discovered things were going nowhere. The fascinating lessons of adulthood — “stay out of debt.”
So we cut all the excessive spending — we stopped shopping, eating outside, buying stuff we don’t really need — we saved!
Then we invested in our passports. We first used our savings to get cheap package flight to Hong Kong — then on to Singapore.
Then came the crucial part — we applied for tourist visas. It was scary at first, but God was good. HE even showed me a few hard-learned lessons.
Word of advice. Don’t declare your nursing credentials on the tourist application.
Or else you’ll hear the dreaded words from the embassy interviewer, “You’re actually trying to convince me you’re not going to overstay and try to land a nursing job there?!?”
Those were the exact words echoed at Christel, my college best friend. Christel had everything. She was rich, she had connections, she had “show money,” she used her connections to land a high paying job at a pharmaceutical company. Like really, really, high paying salary.
She had everything set to convince the American interviewer that she’s all “set” in Manila and would not dare toil the labor of a nurse there.
But all that money and connections went for naught when a tiny portion in the application caught the interviewer’s eye. “Nursing Graduate.”
That was enough to get the dreaded “denied” stamp.
Oh, I could still remember holding Christel all night as she cried her heart out. “I’m sorry, Christel…”
So I scratched out “nursing grad,” I put in instead, “currently attending culinary school.” I told the interviewer we were quite contented with our call center salary and would not be tempted to overstay. “We love it here in Manila.”
The interviewer, a cuddly old bear of a man with great sense of humor gave a giggle and said, “we’ll see…”
Stamped. Approved. And on our way to Vegas.
We had travel credentials in our passports. We told the interviewer we traveled Asia already, and now want to get a taste of America.
Here are the key points:
- It didn’t hurt that our requested destination was Vegas — it is after all, a pure tourist spot.
- We were lucky my aunt lives in Vegas. If not, we’d still use Vegas as our port of entry. Why? It seems very credible for a vacation spot — and vacation is what we’re after in the first place.
- If we didn’t have relatives in Vegas, we’d book a hotel and still enjoy the place there for a day or two and fly to wherever our family is in the US.
Now you may ask, what does this have to do with nursing?
First off, if you’re already there — everything is easier. Secondly, you could get caregiver jobs (under the table) to replenish your expenses (a plane ticket is expensive enough).
Third, you have the chance to visit various hospitals and nursing homes to apply for actual work visa sponsorship.
Tip: Don’t fly PAL — they are the worst! And the most expensive too! Food is bad, service is bad, seats are crampy and the stewardesses are, how to say… malditas. Just my opinion.
KAL, JAL, Northwest and Cathay are way better — cheaper too.
I’m not comfortable writing this, but here it goes. This might help a bit.
When my aunt was still a pediatrician in Manila, life was good. She spends six hours a day in her office, and does a few ‘hospital rounds’ from time to time.
But lo and behold, her sons weren’t as study freaks as she was. In fact, they both dropped out college (nice). This had her concerned, absolutely no future in Manila for the boys, she ended up applying for nursing work visa.
She went through an agency of course. She contracted the agency to hook her up with “work sponsorship.” For $5,000, she gets a work sponsor in Vegas.
Do you know what that is? That grand “work sponsorship?” It’s a MSword printed out in a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper saying…
To whom it may concern,
This person, Juanita Dela Cruz, is hereby granted immediate employment at ABC Hospital the moment she arrives here with starting salary of xxx amount.
Blah, blah, blah.
Signed by an HR or nurse manager at one of the nursing home/hospital in Vegas. So the agency gets half, and the “signer” gets the other half of the $5,000. You won’t actually have a job there, all they care is you pay them for giving you a piece of letter “guaranteeing you a ‘supposed’ job” there
For what it’s worth, the agency does get your visa approval faster.
Tip: For goodness’ sake, when the US Customs asks you where to mail your greencard — mail it to your relatives!
The way it works, the agency will constantly remind you to mail your greencard at “their” address — a necessity, so they say.
But what happens? They take your greencard hostage! Till you pay the full amount $5,000. What they’re doing isn’t exactly legal, no contracts were signed — they just hold your greencard hostage.
I call them low-lives. But, they did get a lot of doctors there. Still, it isn’t exactly right.
What does this have to do with me?
I was offered that same chance. Agencies couldn’t get nurses to U.S. back in 2005 (or earlier) — only doctors turned nurses get approved — but IF you’re already there, they’re willing to help you.
I was contracted by my aunt to work as an under-the-table caregiver. To earn $5,000 and buy that piece of paper called “work sponsorship.” Once I get that piece of paper, everything will be easy (since I was already there), no need to suffer the 10,000 mile long lines we suffer at Gov’t offices in the Philippines. All I need to do is apply through USCIS and done! Wait it out and get my work visa in a year? (so the agency promised, who knows.)
I could have actually have been a nurse there.
Start with caregiver then pay the agency to land me a work visa in Vegas.
There’s that look there. See? You’re doing it right now. LOL. I’ve had my shares from my friends and relatives — “Bobo ka talaga! Nurse ka na sana sa states!” — I’ve heard them all, no need to add. Lol.
Why, oh why did I turn it down? It wasn’t part of the dream.
Besides the fact that it would’ve separated me from my hubby and baby boy for a year (probably more), it would’ve made me miserable — and I’d make myself feel better by thinking “Ganon talaga ito, ok lang ito, ganon talaga ito…”
Yup, you’re lying to yourself when you say that. You’re only trying to make yourself feel better.
I’m different, you see. I’m sorry to have to say this, but in my case, I hated nursing because my father forced it upon me.That simple. (Sorry).
And you might’ve have overlooked the most basic principle of all — I was already there! What’s the point?We never really loved nursing, we just wanted to use nursing as a plane ticket to the US.
But I was there already, no need to use nursing — That time in my life, I was already concentrating on my dream of having my own restaurant.
I don’t know if this would help you. I’ve only been to one state, one city. That was the loophole I found there.
But heed a warning: overstaying (TNT) and getting caught working under-the-table jobs is illegal. This could get you blacklisted for 10 years!
It seldom happens. It only happens when your “kapwa” Filipino with massive crab mentality (believe me, there are lots of them), will report you to immigration. I’ve heard stories of this happening, I know a few exiled ones — be careful.
Wow, I don’t really feel comfortable writing this. In fact, I’ve contemplated on deleting this many times. But I ultimately decided that some people can learn from this. If I ever change my mind in the future, I’ll have this deleted.
The only message I want people to know is — USA is a beautiful place. I encourage everybody to save up, invest in their passports and travel!
See the world! This will completely open up your mind. I have to be honest, I used to be narrow-minded, but traveling opened my eyes to a whole lot. You’ll see a bigger, better world — you’ll be a better person. You’ll grow more for having seen more and meeting a lot of different people –different races, different culture — you’ll learn a lot.
As human beings, traveling to different places and meeting more people will make us grow faster.
So travel! At the very least — it’s fun! It CREATES memories. 50 years from now, you’ll open that old dusty photo album and reminisce on all the places you’ve been. You’ll be happy.
I’ve said enough — Go travel! Go have fun!
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