Overseas Filipinos

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Overseas Filipinos
Mga Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat
Total population

10.2 million
(including descendants of Filipinos and persons of partial Filipino ancestry)[1]

figures are for various years, per individual supporting sources cited.
Regions with significant populations
 United States 3,898,739[2]
 Saudi Arabia 1,020,000[3]
 United Arab Emirates 679,819[4]
 Canada 662,600[5]
 Malaysia 325,089[6]
 Japan 209,373[7]
 Qatar 195,558[3]
 Australia 171,233[8]
 Kuwait 139,802[3]
 Hong Kong 130,810[9]
 Italy 128,060[10]
 Spain 115,362[11]
 United Kingdom 112,000[3]
 Taiwan 108,520[12]
 South Korea 63,464[13]
 New Zealand 40,347[14]
 Israel 31,000[15]
 Papua New Guinea 25,000[16]
 Germany 20,589[17]
 Netherlands 16,719[18]
 Thailand 14,830[19]
 Macau 14,544[20]
 Sweden 13,000[21]
 Ireland 12,791[22]
 Austria 12,474[23]
 Norway 12,262[24]
 China 12,254[25]
  Switzerland 10,000'[26]
 Kazakhstan 7,000[27]
 Palau 7,000[28]
Languages of the Philippines, English
Predominantly Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism & Iglesia ni Cristo)  · Islam  · Non-religious
Related ethnic groups

An Overseas Filipino (Filipino: Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat) is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines. This term applies to Filipinos who are abroad indefinitely as citizens or as permanent residents of a different country and to those Filipino citizens abroad for a limited, definite period, such as on a work contract or as students.


In 2013, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimated that approximately 10.2 million people of Filipino descent lived or worked abroad.[1]

Economic impact[edit]

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.[29] Remittances by unofficial, including illegal, channels are estimated by the Asian Bankers Association to be 30 to 40% higher than the official BSP figure.[29] In 2011, remittances were US$20.117 billion.[30]

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.[30]


Employment conditions[edit]

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 Filipinos 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.[31][32]

According to a statement made in 2009 by John Leonard Monterona, the Middle East coordinator of Migrante, a Manila-based OFW organization, every year, an unknown number of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia were then "victims of sexual abuses, maltreatment, unpaid salaries, and other labor malpractices".[33][needs update]

Government policy[edit]

Philippine Labor Migration Policy has historically focused on removing barriers for migrant workers to increase accessibility for employment abroad. Working conditions among Filipinos 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 men's 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.[34]

Overseas Filipinos in Vietnam welcome President Rodrigo Duterte during his official visit to the country, 28 September 2016

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.[35][36] [37]

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 have been made by several NGOs that nursing-specializing Filipino workers overseas, locally known as "overseas Filipino workers" (OFWs), return to the country to train local nurses, for which program training would be required in order for the Philippines to make up for all its nurses migrating abroad.[37]

Host country policies[edit]

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. These favorable investment policies causes an increase in income inequalities and do 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.[35][38]

Many host governments of OFWs have protective policies and barriers making it difficult to enter the job market. Japan has been known for rigorous testing of Filipinos 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 OFWs.[36]

Return migration[edit]

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.[35]

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.[34]

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 Filipinos 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.[36]

Countries with Filipino populations[edit]

Filipino Market in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Lucky Plaza mall in Orchard Road hosts products and services that cater for Overseas Filipinos in Singapore.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Stock Estimate of Filipinos Overseas As of December 2013" (PDF). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  2. ^ "ASIAN ALONE OR IN ANY COMBINATION BY SELECTED GROUPS: 2015". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Stock Estimates of Filipinos Overseas 2007 Report. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  4. ^ http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/7/know-your-diaspora-united-arab-emirates
  5. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090209101514/http://globalnation.inquirer.net:80/news/breakingnews/view/20090206-187868/No-foreign-workers-layoffs-in-Malaysia
  7. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs to Filipinos in Japan 'Heed advisories'". Japan. 12 March 2011. 
  8. ^ [1] Australia Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  9. ^ Filipinos in Hong Kong Hong Kong Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  10. ^ "I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti". 30 November 2013. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "PGMA meets members of Filipino community in Spain". Gov.Ph. Retrieved 1 July 2006. [dead link]
  12. ^ 外僑居留-按國籍別 (Excel) (in Chinese). National Immigration Agency, Ministry of the Interior. 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  13. ^ Filipinos in South Korea. Korean Culture and Information Service (KOIS). Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  14. ^ "Ethnic group profiles". 
  15. ^ "Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics". Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. 
  16. ^ Amojelar, Darwin G.. (2013-04-26) Papua New Guinea thumbs down Philippine request for additional flights. InterAksyon.com. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Anzahl der Ausländer in Deutschland nach Herkunftsland (Stand: 31. Dezember 2014)". 
  18. ^ "A brief history of Philippine – Netherlands relations". The Philippine Embassy in The Hague. 
  19. ^ "ต่างด้าวอาเซียนทำงานในไทยกว่า 1.3 ล้านคน "ฟิลิปปินส์" ครองแชมป์ทำงานระดับฝีมือสูงสุด". April 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "Macau Population Census". Census Bureau of Macau. May 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  21. ^ "pinoys-sweden-protest-impending-embassy-closure". ABS-CBN.com. 
  22. ^ "CSO Emigration" (PDF). Census Office Ireland. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "Statistic Austria". 
  24. ^ "8 Folkemengde, etter norsk / utenlandsk statsborgerskap og landbakgrunn 1. januar 2009". Statistisk sentralbyra (Statistics Norway). Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "President Aquino to meet Filipino community in Beijing". Ang Kalatas-Australia. 30 August 2011. 
  26. ^ "Backgrounder: Overseas Filipinos in Switzerland". Office of the Press Secretary. 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2009. 
  27. ^ Welcome to Embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia Website. Kazembassy.org.my. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  28. ^ Tan, Lesley (2006-06-06). "A tale of two states". Cebu Daily News. Retrieved 11 April 2008. 
  29. ^ a b Remo, Michelle V. (November 14, 2012). "Stop illegal remittance agents, BSP urged: Informal forex channels a problem in the region". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  30. ^ a b Magtulis, Prinz (November 15, 2012). "Remittance growth poised to meet full-year forecast - BSP". The Philippine Star. 
  31. ^ UN (2007). " A call for equality.". The state of the worlds children. pp. 1–15. Retrieved 2014-05-18
  32. ^ "Gender and Migration: An Integrative Approach [eScholarship]". Escholarship.org. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  33. ^ Leonard, John (2008-07-03). "OFW rights violation worsens under the Arroyo administration". Filipino OFWs Qatar. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  34. ^ a b Oishi, N. (March 2002). "Gender and migration: an integrated approach". Escolarship.org. 
  35. ^ a b c Beneria, L. Deere; Kabeer, C. (2012). "Gender and international migration: globalization, development and governance". 
  36. ^ a b c Nozomi, Y. (February 2014). "Policy review: Japan-Philippines economic partnership agreement, analysis of a failed nurse migration policy". 
  37. ^ a b Lorenzo, E. (June 2007). "Nursing migration from a source country perspective: Philippine country case study" (PDF). Health Serv Res. 42: 1406–18. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2007.00716.x. PMC 1955369Freely accessible. PMID 17489922. 
  38. ^ "Migration and Foreign Remittances in the Philippines". IMF working paper: Asia and Pacific department. p. 3. 
  39. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs to Filipinos in Japan 'Heed advisories'". Japan. March 12, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Qatar´s population by nationality". BQ Magazine. 18 Dec 2013. 
  41. ^ "Spanish language diploma key to Filipinos' legal stay | Ang Bagong Filipino". AngBagongFilipino.wordpress.com. 2011-08-29. 
  42. ^ "Filipinos in Liverpool, Part 1". Filipinohome.com. 1915-05-04. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  43. ^ Rueda, Nimfa U. (25 March 2012). "Filipinos 2nd largest Asian group in US, census shows". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
    Kevin L. Nadal (23 March 2011). Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice. John Wiley & Sons. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-118-01977-1. 
    Min Zhou; Anthony C. Ocampo (19 April 2016). Contemporary Asian America (third Edition): A Multidisciplinary Reader. NYU Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-1-4798-2923-1. 
  44. ^ "Historic Filipinotown - Things to Do". VisitAsianLA.org. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  45. ^ "Background Note: Philippines". U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. May 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-02. There are an estimated four million Americans of Filipino ancestry in the United States, and more than 250,000 American citizens in the Philippines. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

General statistics from Philippine government[edit]

From other sources[edit]