Samiksha Jaiswal

Overseas Filipinos

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United States  3,416,840
United Arab Emirates  679,819
Malaysia  325,089
Saudi Arabia  1,020,000
Canada  662,600
Japan  209,373

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.

Economic impact

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.

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.

Employment conditions

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.

Government policy

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.

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 OFWs 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. 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.

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.

Return migration

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 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.

Countries with Filipino populations

  •  Australia: In the 2011 Census, there were 171,233 people in Australia who were of Filipino descent.
  •  Canada: See Filipino Canadians.
  •  Greece: See Filipinos in Greece
  •  Hong Kong: There are approximately 130,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, many of whom are domestic helpers.
  •  Ireland: As of 2011 there were 12,791 Filipinos in Ireland.
  •  Japan: In 2011, the Philippine DFA said that there were 305,972 Filipinos in Japan. As of 2013 the Philippine government estimated that there were about 183,000 Filipinos in Japan.
  •  Lebanon: As of 2013 there were 1,573 Filipinos with permanent residency in Lebanon. In addition, there were several thousand OFW's in the country, until the recent turmoil between Lebanon and Israel. Since then, many have been repatriated back to the Philippines, while others have been relocated to Cyprus, a part of the Philippine evacuation plan.
  •  Malaysia: See Filipinos in Malaysia
  •  Mexico: There are approximately 1,200 Filipino nationals who live in Mexico. In addition, there exists a community of Filipino immigration to 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.
  •    Nepal: There are approximately 300 Filipinos in Nepal
  •  New Zealand: As of 2013 there were about 40,000 Filipino New Zealanders in New Zealand.
  •  Nigeria: See Filipinos in Nigeria
  •  Norway: As of 2013 there were about 18,000 Filipinos in Norway, 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.
  •  Oman: See Filipinos in Oman
  •  Qatar: As of 2014, there were approximately 195,000 Filipinos in Qatar.
  •  Singapore: As of 2013, over 163,000 Overseas Filipinos in Singapore.
  •  South Korea: As of 2013 there were about 60,000 Filipinos in South Korea.
  •  Spain: As of 2013 there were about 43,000 Spanish people of Filipino ancestry, mainly in Barcelona and Madrid. Filipinos have maintained a presence in Spain, given the latter colonised the islands for three centuries, resulting in significant cultural ties.
  •  Sweden: As of 2013 there were about 13,000 Filipinos in Sweden.
  •  Taiwan: As of 2013 there were about 90,000 Filipinos in Taiwan. 2012 figures from the Philippine government list 4,521 Filipinos in Taiwan on a permanent basis, 78,207 temporary, and 2,225 irregular, for a total of 84,953.
  •  United Kingdom: See Filipinos in the United Kingdom. Nurses and caregivers have begun migrating to the United Kingdom in recent years. The island nation has welcomed thousands of nurses and various other occupations from the Philippines during the past 5 years. 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: As of 2010 there were 3.4 million Filipinos in the United States, including those of partial descent. Despite race relation 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 the vast majority belonging to the middle class. Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group in the country. 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: As of 2013 there were about 200 Filipinos living in Venezuela.
  • References

    Overseas Filipinos Wikipedia

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