Indian nurses with diploma certificates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are afraid of losing their jobs in the wake of a newly introduced mandatory educational requirement.

After the UAE Federal Government made bachelor's degree in nursing as the minimum educational qualification for registered nurses in the Gulf state, more than 200 nurses have been removed from several hospitals and others have been demoted to the post of a practical nurse from a registered nurse, a report in Gulf News said.

Also, nurses with diploma certificates, who have been retained have no option but to do a Post Basic BSc Nursing Programme from universities in the UAE accredited by the Ministry of Education (MoE) by 2020.

Another Crisis

But hundreds of nurses, who have enrolled for the programmes in different universities, are now facing yet another crisis - their requests for equivalency certificate for their diploma certificate are getting rejected by the ministry.

Barring those studied in Kerala, the UAE's Ministry of Education (MoE) is not issuing equivalency certificates for diploma certificates issued by boards of examination of other Indian states as they are not recognised by it. A sizable chunk of nurses in the Gulf state is from the south Indian state of Kerala.

Now, nurses from other states are in dire straits 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, affected nurses told the newspaper.

Nurses also pointed out that although nursing councils in India's various states follow the same curriculum issued by the Indian Nursing Council, the MoE recognises only certificates issued by Kerala's board of examination, which has made lives miserable for those who joined the Post Basic BSc Nursing course with the hope of continuing to work. Some universities in the UAE are not even allowing them to enrol for their nursing programme, which costs anywhere between 55,000 dirhams and 75,000 dirhams.

"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," one nurse was quoted as saying by the UAE newspaper. Nurses who joined the government service in the Gulf state before 1990 have only a three-year diploma as BSc Nursing programme was very rare in those days. As the affected nurses cannot resolve the issue their own, they are urging an urgent intervention of Indian authorities, especially the Ministry of External Affairs, to discuss the issue with the UAE authorities.