|10,460,327 - 13,500,000[a]|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Countries with over 100,000 overseas Filipinos (2012)[a]|
|Philippine languages, English, Spanish|
|Mostly Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism · Islam.|
|Related ethnic groups|
An Overseas Filipino is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies to Filipinos who are both abroad indefinitely as citizens or permanent residents of a different country, and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or a student. It can also include seamen and others who work outside the Philippines but are not residents, either permanent or temporary, of another country.
They are known by a variety of terms with slightly different and sometimes overlapping meanings. Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW are Filipinos working abroad that are expected to return permanently either upon the expiration of a work contract or upon retirement. Balikbayans are Filipinos who have become citizens of another country and have returned to the Philippines for a temporary though extended visit. Global Filipino is a term of more recent vintage that less widely used.
A former economics professor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 10th President of the Philippines, applied the term Overseas Filipino Investor or OFI for Filipino expatriates who contribute to the economy through remittances, buying properties and creating businesses.
As a result of this migration, many countries have substantial Filipino communities.
- 1 Population
- 2 Economic impact
- 3 Consequences
- 4 Countries with Filipino populations
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
In 2012, the Commission on Overseas Filipinos estimated that approximately 10.5 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad. This is about eleven percent of the population figure of 94.01 estimated by the National Statistics Office.
More than a million Filipinos every year leave to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government-sponsored initiatives. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students and fast food workers. Also, many overseas workers are women applying as domestic helpers and caregivers. Others emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries.
The exodus includes a number of skilled workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in what has been referred to as a brain drain, particularly in the health and education sectors. For example, doctors have retrained to become nurses.
In 2012, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, expects official remittances coursed through banks and agents to grow 5% over 2011 to US$21 billion, but official remittances are only a fraction of all remittances. Remittances by unofficial, including illegal, channels are estimated by the Asian Bankers Association to be 30 to 40% higher than the official BSP figure. In 2011, remittances were US$20.117 billion.
Philippines is the fourth largest recipient of official remittances after China, India, and Mexico. OFW remittances represent 13.5% of the country's GDP, the largest in proportion to the domestic economy among the four countries. OFW remittances is also credited for the Philippines' recent economic growth resulting to investment status upgrades from credit ratings agencies such as Fitch and S&P.
In 2012, approximately 80% of the remittances came from only 7 countries—United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Japan. These countries are widely dispersed around the globe—in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, respectively.
Employment conditions abroad are relevant to the individual worker and their families as well as for the sending country and its economic growth and well being. Poor working conditions for Filipino people hired abroad include long hours, low wages and few chances to visit family. Women often face disadvantages in their employment conditions as they tend to work in the elder/child care and domestic. These occupations are considered low skilled and require little education and training, thereby regularly facing poor working conditions. Women facing just working conditions are more likely to provide their children with adequate nutrition, better education and sufficient health. There is a strong correlation between women's rights and the overall well being of children. It is therefore a central question to promote women's rights in order to promote children's capabilities.
Philippine Labor Migration Policy has historically focused on removing barriers for migrant workers to increase accessibility for employments abroad. Working conditions among Filipino people employed abroad varies depending on whether the host country acknowledges and enforces International labor standards. The standards are set by the ILO, which is an UN agency that 185 of the 193 UN members are part of. Labor standards vary greatly depending on host country regulations and enforcement. One of the main reasons for the large differences in labor standards is due to the fact that ILO only can register complaints and not impose sanctions on governments.
Emigration policies tend to differ within countries depending on if the occupation is mainly dominated by men or women. Occupations dominated by men tend to be driven by economic incentives whereas emigration policies aimed at women traditional tend to be value driven, adhering to traditional family roles that favors mens wage work. As women regularly are seen as symbols of national pride and dignity governments tend to have more protective policies in sectors dominated by women. These policies risk to increase gender inequality in the Philippines and thereby this public policy work against women joining the workforce.
The Philippine government has recently opened up their public policy to promote women working abroad since the world's demand for domestic workers and healthcare workers has increased. This has led to the government reporting a recent increase in women emigrating from the Philippines. A healthcare problem arises as migrating women from the Philippines and other developing countries often create a nursing shortage in the home country. Nurse to patient ratio is down to 1 nurse to between 40 and 60 patients, in the 1990s the ratio was 1 nurse to between 15 and 20 patients. It seems inevitable that the healthcare sector losses experienced nurses as the emigration is increasing. The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement is seen as a failure by most since only 7% of applicants or 200 nurses a year has been accepted on average. Mainly due to resistance by domestic stakeholders and failed program implementation. The result is a "lose-lose" outcome where Philippine workers fail to leverage their skills and a worldwide shortage persists.Despite the fact that Japan has an aging population and many Filipinos want to work in Japan a solution has not yet been found. The Japanese Nursing Association supports "equal or better" working conditions and salaries for Filipino nurses. Yagi propose more flexible wages to make Filipinos more attractive on the Japanese job market. 
Results from a focus group in the Philippines shows that the positive impacts from migration of nurses is attributed to the individual migrant and his/her family, while the negative impacts are attributed to the Filipino healthcare system and society in general. In order to fill the nursing shortage in the Philippines suggestions that OFW’s return to train local nurses has been made by several NGO’s and training will be needed in order for the Philippines to make up for all nurses migrating abroad.
Host country policies
Wealthier households derive a larger share of their income from abroad. This might suggest that government policies in host countries favor capital-intensive activities. Even though work migration is mainly a low and middle class activity the high-income households are able to derive a larger share of their income from abroad due to favorable investment policies. Despite work migration being dominated by workers from low and middle income households it is still wealthier households that derive the largest portion of their income from abroad. These favorable investment policy's causes an increase in income inequalities and does not promote domestic investments that can lead to increased standard of living. This inequality threatens to halt the economic development as investments are needed in the Philippines and not abroad in order to increase growth and well-being. A correlation between successful contribution to the home country's economy and amounted total savings upon the migrants return has been found, therefore it is important to decrease income inequalities while attracting capital from abroad to the Philippines.
Many host governments of OFW’s have protective policies and barriers making it difficult to enter the job market. Japan has been known for rigorous testing of Filipino’s in a way that make them look reluctant to hold up their part of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement and solely enjoy the benefit of affordable manufacturing in the Philippines, not accepting and educating OFW’s.
Unions and advocacy groups
Multiple NGOs such as UNIFEM, UNESCO and Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights are actively working to improve employment conditions globally. The ILO is a UN agency that deals with unfair working conditions and promote decent work for all no matter if it is domestically or abroad. Established in 1981 the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) is the longest existing independent service provider for migrants in Asia. By providing legal help, counseling, and a place to meet the MFMW helps migrant workers in Hong Kong.
International migration will not become perfectly mobile as long as autonomous countries create barriers to entry. These barriers are normally applied on certain sectors or restrictions aimed at workers from specific countries or regions. The WTO is an organization that works to decrease restrictions worldwide and promote free trade. The WTO has divided the masses of emigrating workers as some promote fair working conditions and strong labor rights. This group of workers argue that removal of international barriers and restrictions will enable equality and free choice no matter where you work or live. Others criticize the WTO for creating a dual international labor market that favors those with highly skilled jobs while low skilled jobs are highly immobile due to public policy and often faces restricted international movement as a result. The restrictions vary depending on level of education, host country and home country.
Work migration is increasing on a global scale and especially among women; it is especially sectors such as care and domestic work that have seen a rapid increase of women emigrating. The Philippines is leading this development but it is worrisome that as many as 60% of OFW’s are temporary workers. Temporary jobs tend to be excluded from basic labor rights such as overtime pay, regular breaks or restricted working hours. Temporary workers can easily be fired and replaced which is the major reason foreign firms often prefer migrant workers. This temporariness causes an additional stress for the family. Many children of migrant workers has grown up not knowing both of their parents. Many children of longterm absent parents does not feel affection towards them, or might not even recognize them. Many relationships are broken as one parent emigrates which causes a larger proportion of children growing up with divorced or unhappy parents. ”In the case of the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the strategy is predicted on calling upon women to take the lead in the development agenda, engendering responsibility for generating the means to fund investments in this development”.
Remittances are money that are sent home from abroad by the migrant worker. These remittances earned by overseas Filipinos are indisputably positive for individual families and the governments balance of payments as well as the GDP. However it has been found that remittances are primarily used for costs of living such us food and education. Remittances fill the function of covering short term costs but wages are not sufficient to enable savings and investments. It has yet to be proven that remittances can be translated into value adding activities such as start-ups and investments. For the economy to thrive it is fundamental that the value adding activities are creating a long-term sustainable growth in order to improve healthcare, education, infrastructure and government programs.
Migration is often explained through push and pull factors with remittances pulling skilled workers from the Philippines to move abroad if they are well educated and want better pay in order to escape poverty and help the family. However, push and pull factors rarely include social stigmas, family expectations, gender roles or personal preferences. Leaving the family behind can become a burden for many educated women or men whose parents, partner and extended family expect them to work abroad.
There is some evidence that women migrating from the Philippines send back more money in relative and sometimes absolute terms than the Filipino men. This is often explained by the women’s great commitment to the family and good abilities to save income. The Philippines government has recognized this recent trend and has therefore targeted sectors traditionally employing women such as childcare, domestic work, healthcare, service jobs and eldercare.
It has been emphasized by the World Bank that the Philippines has the largest portion of remittances in relation to GDP in the world. It is pointed out that remittances alone cannot keep the Philippines economy afloat and sustainable long term growth must come from domestic investment and growth
There is some evidence that women in so-called “major sending countries” (e.g. Philippines and Sri Lanka) have higher autonomy and decision-making power within their households than those in “non-sending countries. This suggests that women to a larger extent are making economic decisions in the household. More than economic decisions ought to be measured until conclusions can be drawn from positive or negative effects of more women migrating for wage work and its impact on the family. However, this recent trend will empower women while broadening views and hopefully engage workers in defending their rights.Philippines.”.
Returning migrant workers are often argued to have a positive effect on the home economy since they are assumed to gain skills and return with a new perspective. Deskilling has caused many Filipino workers to return less skilled after being assigned simple tasks abroad, this behavior creates discouragement for foreign workers to climb the occupational ladder. Deskilling of labor is especially prevalent among women who often have few and low skill employment options, such as domestic work and child or elder care. Other occupations that recently has seen an increase in deskilling are doctors, teachers and assembly line workers.
To underline what a common problem this deskilling is returning migrant workers are calling for returnee integration programs, which suggests that they do not feel prepared to be re integrated in the domestic workforce.
As the Philippines among other countries who train and export labor repeatedly has faced failures in protecting labor rights the deskilling of labor has increased on a global scale. A strong worldwide demand for healthcare workers causes many Filipino people to emigrate without ever getting hired or become deskilling while possibly raising their salary. The result is a no-win situation for the sending and receiving country. The receiving countries lose as skilled workers are not fully utilizing their skills while the home country simultaneously experience a shortage of workers in emigrating prone sectors.
Countries with Filipino populations
- Australia: In 2010, there were approximately 177,400 people in Australia who were born in the Philippines. [AUS]
- Brazil: As of 2008[update], there were 379 Filipinos in Brazil. They consist primarily of Catholic missionaries and migrant workers in the telecommunications and oil sectors. There are also a few former seafarers who settled in port cities, and an increasing number of Filipinas who lived in Japan and married Brazilians who were living there.In Venezuela there are 136 Filipinos citizens according to 2001 Census and the community amounts to 500 inhabitants. Since 2008, 33 overseas Filipino workers (11 men, 22 women) have been detained in jails in Brazil on charges of drug trafficking, primarily for attempting to bring in cocaine through airports.
- Canada: Only a small population of Filipinos resided in Canada until the late 20th century. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has estimated that as of 2009[update] there were over 640,000 Canadians of Filipino origin. Due to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Western Canada and the Philippines; contracts in Atlantic Canada; consistent hiring of workers in Central Canada; and increased activity in Northern Canada, it is estimated that there will be some 500,000 Filipinos in Canada as of 2010. As of December 2008, the Philippines overtook China as Canada's leading source of immigrants. See Filipino Canadians.
- France: there are approximately 55,000 Filipinos in France, making it the 3rd country in Europe for Filipinos, after the UK and Italy. 10% of Filipinos living in France have married French citizens. By 2000, 5,823 French citizens had been born in the Philippines, including both French nationals and naturalized Filipinos. Only one school in France, the EFI Langue Institut Linguistique Européen in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, offers classes focusing in part on the Filipino language. 16% of Filipinos in France are between 16 and 25 years of age, 50% are between 26 and 35, 29% are between 36 and 45, and 6% are older than 46. Every year since 1980, a major cultural festival embracing the Filipino culture has been held in Paris, called the "Pista sa Paris," unique in Continental Europe. The event is sponsored by the Filipino embassy in Paris, and features singers, dancers, and Filipino cuisine.
- Hong Kong: There are approximately 140,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, of whom most are domestic helpers (30,000 of them being members of the Filipino Migrant Workers Union). Filipino maids are known by the locals as amahs, or more often feiyungs (less politely, bun mui or bun bun), and face discrimination and maltreatment from the locals. A Hong Kong work visa requires some amount of higher education; and in some cases Filipino women with college degrees and perfect command of English are willing to work as maids and nannies for a salary higher than they could make at home in professions.[HKG]
- India: Approximately 1,000 Filipinos reside in India. However, government's official figures show some 500 Filipinos.
- Italy: There are about 130,000 Filipinos in Italy. This makes it the 2nd country host to Filipinos in Europe after the UK. Given the high amount of women working as domestic helpers, the Italian term "filippina" is now often used as a synonymous for this profession.
- Iraq: Despite that the Philippine government banned OFWs from working in Iraq, an estimated 1,000-3,000 Filipinos work there. Most work on US Military bases around the country as cooks and laundry service, sometimes as third-country national security guards. This is the only foreign country in which Filipino men outnumber Filipino women.
- Ireland: As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.
- Japan: Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines.[JPN] However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.
- Lebanon: As many as 30,000 OFWs are working in Lebanon. Due to the recent turmoil between Lebanon and Israel, however, many have been repatriated back to the Philippines, while others have been relocated to Cyprus, a part of the Philippine evacuation plan.[LBN]
- Malaysia: As Sabah is very close to the Philippines, many Filipino residents and illegal immigrants live and work there. Filipinos make up about 30% of the entire population of Sabah and they enumerate up to 900,000. Many Filipinos in Malaysia come to work in construction industries, fisheries, and other labor-intensive sectors in hopes of a better living. Most live in stilt slums scattered behind cities or on offshore islands. The Philippine government also has promised to establish a consulate to provide any necessary help to its nationals. Historically, The Philippines has a claim on the eastern part of the territory.
- Mexico: There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry living in Mexico, some of whom are of mixed ancestry, descended from Filipino immigrants who settled in Mexico during the colonial period. More recently, there were Filipinos who arrived as refugees to Mexico who fled from the Marcos dictatorship. Their communities are found in Guerrero, Michoacán, and Colima.
- Middle East: Many Filipinos work in the Middle East (mostly Saudi Arabia and UAE) as engineers, nurses or hospital workers, accountants, office workers, construction workers, restaurant workers and maids. The Philippine government estimates that more than 2 million Overseas Filipinos are working in the Middle East.
- New Zealand: There are about 17,000 Filipino residents and citizens in New Zealand called KiwiPino's, Filipino New Zealanders. New Zealand, as in the past, are currently recruiting Filipino qualified nurses. Filipinos in New Zealand, as well as prospective immigrants, often lean towards information technology, nursing and, more recently, telecommunications for careers.
- Nigeria: Filipinos in Nigeria consist largely of migrant workers in the oil industry, though those in the capital city Abuja also work in the education and medical sectors. By mid-2008, their numbers had grown to an estimated 4,500, up from 3,790 in December 2005. They commonly hold skilled construction positions, among them pipe layers, welders, and engineers, and may earn as much as US$10,000 per month; however, those working in oil areas in Southeast Nigeria often find themselves the target of violence by local militants. Majority of the OFWs are working/residing in Lagos and Abuja. Filipino workers are actively petitioning the Philippine government to lift the travel and work ban in Nigeria.
- Norway: The number of Filipinos in Norway is estimated to be about 12,000, most of them living in the Oslo urban area. In addition to Filipinos who have intermarried with Norwegians, there are at least 900 licensed Filipino nurses, over a hundred oil engineers employed mostly in offshore projects in the western coast of Norway and Filipinos or Norwegians of Filipino descent working in the government sector, diplomatic missions and NGO's and commercial establishments. An additional 35,000 Filipinos working on Norwegian-owned or operated ships or in shipyards.
- Oman: As of 2011, there are between 40,000 and 46,000 Filipinos in Oman. Oman was the only Middle Eastern nation included on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration's list of nations safe for OFWs.
- Pakistan: According to the statistics of the Philippine government, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos live and work in Pakistan. Filipinos in Pakistan work as domestic workers, and housemaids.
- Singapore: As of 2009[update], over 163,000 Overseas Filipinos worked and resided in Singapore. A notable incident involving an OFW was the trial and execution of Flor Contemplacion for the alleged murder of her employer's child and another Filipina, Delia Maga.[POEA2004]
- South Korea: According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, as of December 2006, some 70,000 Filipinos work and live in Korea. Of this number, some 6,000 are permanent residents, some 50,000 work legally, and some 14,000 are "irregular" or do not have the proper documents.[not in citation given]
- Spain: There are around 50,000 Filipino legal workers living abroad in Spain, mainly in Barcelona and Madrid. However, there are also around 300,000 people (mainly mestizo Filipinos) who hold dual citizenship (Filipino and Spanish). This number is nearly 0,7% of the Spanish population. Filipinos have maintained a presence in Spain, given the latter colonised the islands for three centuries, resulting in significant cultural ties.
- Sweden: There are about 4,000 Filipinos in Sweden. They are mostly married to Swedes, or working as housekeepers, in hotels or as caregivers.
- Taiwan: According to the 2006 data of the government of Taiwan, there are 96,000 Filipinos currently living in Taiwan. Of these, 58,704 are in manufacturing industries and 34,602 are in social or personal services (e.g. maids).[ROC] However, according to 2004 data by the Philippine Government, there are 2,037 Filipinos living in Taiwan permanently, 154,135 are in Taiwan for work contracts, and 4,500 go to Taiwan irregularly, which make a total of 160,672. It is not known why there is such a big difference between these two numbers (96,000 vs. 160,672).
- United Kingdom: Nurses and caregivers have begun migrating to the United Kingdom in recent years. The island nation has welcomed about 20,000 nurses and other Filipinos of various occupations and lifestyles during the past 5 years. The United Kingdom is home to an estimated 200,000 OFWs. Many Filipino seamen settled in British port cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Liverpool even had an area nicknamed 'Little Manila'.
- United States: Despite race relations problems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the American Northwest, most Filipino Americans today find it easy to integrate into American society, with a majority belonging to the middle class. Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group in the country; Tagalog is the fifth most spoken language in the U.S. Filipinas comprise a large portion of the roughly 4,000-6,000 women who annually come to the U.S. through method of mail-order bride, internet courtship, or through direct contact when traveling to the Philippines. The US State Department estimated that there are 4 million Filipinos in the US as of 2007.The United States hosts the largest population of Filipinos outside the Philippines, with a Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles designated in August 2002, the first district established outside the Philippines to honor and recognize the area's Filipino community.
- Venezuela: There are 136 Filipino citizens registered in the 2001 Census.
- Brain drain
- Human migration
- Philippine Labor Migration Policy
- Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
- UN: ILO, UNESCO, UNIFEM, WTO
- Women migrant workers from developing countries
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- [dead link] By Pinzon’s estimate, there are about 200,000 descendants of Filipinos in southern Mexico. They are concentrated in the Costa Grande north of Acapulco. The town of Coyuca 35 miles north of Acapulco was called Filipino town in the old days. There is also a large Filipino community in Colima, about eight hours ride north of Acapulco.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Filipino diaspora.|
General statistics from Philippine government
- POEA2004 a b c d e f g h i "Stock Estimate of Overseas Filipinos" (MS Excel). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-08-01. (overseas Filipinos working and/or living overseas):
- 3,187,586 stay permanently, 3,599,257 stay for work contracts, and 1,296,972 stay irregularly (without proper documents), which make a sum of 8,083,815.
- Press release on the 2004 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, Philippine National Statistics Office, on OFWs:
- 1.06 million Overseas Filipinos Workers
- 33.4% are unskilled workers, 15.4% are Trades and related workers, 15.1% are plant and machine operators and assemblers.
- 49.3% are males, 50.7% are females.
- Remittances are 64.7 billion Philippine pesos (equaled 1.2 billion USD then)
- Deployed Landbased Overseas Filipino Workers by Destination (New hires and Rehires) (MS Excel format), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), 2005, on OFWs:
- 733,970 are landbased, 247,707 are seabased, which make a sum of 981,677. There is a 5.15% growth since 2004's 933,588.
- Remittances are 9,727,138,000 USD. There is a 26.6% growth since 2004.
- List of Additional Reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Statistics Page
From other sources
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