This is how people call Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs these days – and they deserve it. These people decided to leave the comfort of their homes and sought greener pastures to provide a better life and future for their family. The remittances they sent to their families back home helped improved the Philippines’ economy; hence the title.
Aside from this, how much do you know about OFWs?
Here’s what we know:
1. There is an increasing number of OFWs deployed every year.
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA, there were more than 1.8 million Filipinos (both new hires and re-hires) who left the country to work in 2015. Land-based workers still got the big chunk at more than 1.4 million while there were more than 406,000 seafarers deployed.
What’s more alarming is that this number increases every year, which could indicate that income opportunity in the Philippines is not at par with other countries overseas. There are also more re-hires than new hires, especially for land-based workers.
2. Middle East countries are still the top destination among OFWs.
In particular, Saudi Arabia with more than 406,000 workers deployed and United Arab Emirates with a little over 227,000 documented workers.
What’s the reason behind this?
Migration to Middle East dates back to 1970s when the countries in this region started recruiting “guest workers” to work on various projects, including infrastructure. In 1975, then President Marcos implemented “Development Diplomacy,” which paved way to the rise of Filipinos deployed overseas.
Aside from Middle East countries like Kuwait and Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are among the top destinations for OFWs. Europe, America, Oceania, and Africa are also considered by Filipinos seeking to work abroad.
3. Household service workers occupy the top occupational category.
There are several occupational groups deployed overseas. This includes:
- Household service workers
- Nursing professionals
- Cleaners and helpers
- Construction workers
- Plumbers and pipe fitters
Among these groups, household service workers remain to be the top job applied to by Filipinos with more than 194,000 and at least 183,000 new hires in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
4. OFWs help boost the Philippine economy by sending remittances.
Do you know why the Philippines was able to withstand recession despite the several economic crises around the world? It’s all because of OFW remittances.
In 2014, remittances were almost at $24 billion and in 2015, OFW cash remittances is at $16.21 billion from January to August alone. This increases the country’s dollar reserves, thereby making the Philippines more resilient despite the economic crises rocking the world.
5. The life of OFWs abroad is not as easy as it seems.
It’s true that OFWs earn bigger and in dollars. The fact that they are abroad makes it easier for them to visit other places and experience a different culture. Unfortunately, OFW life is not easy.
Apart from dealing with homesickness and unexplainable lack of funds even while working abroad, OFWs are exposed to violence and abuses from employers, exploitation, and incarceration. If OFWs fight back and unfortunately killed the employer, the OFW is subjected to death sentences and could even lead to death itself.
OFW life is not easy. If you want to give this a try, then you need to prepare physically and emotionally to help you get through this life. It is rewarding, but sacrifices have to be made to provide a better life for your family.